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America vs the Rest of the World

Updated on January 7, 2017
TessSchlesinger profile image

Growing up in a political family, Tessa joined her first political party at 14. Her interest in progressive politics & economics continues.

Compare America with other countries

I read a fascinating article a few years ago. It was about how America compared to other countries in the world. Far from being the number one in everything, the only thing it was number one in was in having the greatest military capacity in the world. It spent more on arms than the top 20 or 30 countries combined. In everything else, it was a long way down the list. Also, in the 30's, America was number two on the list for having the least number of deaths for mothers during childbirth. Now, it is number forty eight. So, this article is comparing America to other countries in the world.

Because there is so much trolling whenever this topic is mentioned, I have made sure that everything I write is backed by a one or more studies and have provided many links so that everything can be confirmed. This article has nothing to do with opinion. It is based on solid research and is fact.

United States Health System compared to rest of first world

America’s health facilities are not the best in the world. Hospitals and medical facilities in Australia, Europe, Canada, and New Zealand, as well as some in the east, like Singapore and Thailand are far better. They have shorter waiting times, better facilities, and doctors who have the same degree of education In fact, some doctors have studied at some of the world's leading universities. In addition, their health care is paid for by business and taxes. Those countries where there is some form of contributory insurance still keep it within affordable parameters so that, regardless of the severity of illness, patients do not go bankrupt as a result of treatment. With the advent of Obamacare, cheaper medical insurance, more in line with some European practice, has been provided. In countries like the UK, the NHS is 100% free. However, services can be overloaded so patients can approach doctors in private practice. This is generally more expensive.

Obama, however, sold out to industry. Instead of getting a free medical care system, all he did was sell out to the insurance companies and force people to pay for medical insurance. Very poor people still don't qualify for Obamacare. I know that because I didn't qualify for Obamacare. That said, medical insurance in the USA is now cheaper than it used to be, but standards of care compared to other first world countries are not close.

Some people confuse the fact that the USA is responsible for many medical breakthroughs with medical care. Unhappily, regardless of medical breakthroughs, these are not available to the people of the USA.

Americans spend $477 billion a year MORE on healthcare than in other advanced countries. have poorer health and die earlier.

Switzerland and San Marino -- the microstate surrounded by Italy -- tied Japan for the world's longest life expectancy, at 83 years, according to a 2011 World Health Organization study. From there, eight European nations tied for fourth place, at 82 years, including Italy, Andorra and Sweden. In fact, 24 European nations rank ahead of the U.S. on the list, which comes in at No. 33, just ahead of Cuba at No.34.

Longest paid vacation time in the world.

The United States is the only country amongst the industrialized nations where paid vacation time is not mandatory. In South Africa, three weeks paid vacation leave plus payment for all public holidays plus three weeks paid sick leave is enforced by law. In the UK, they have the same, only it’s four weeks leave and in Europe, it’s an average of six weeks leave. In some countries like Finland, it’s approaching two months vacation time. Australia, Israel, Morocco and numerous other countries get a mandatory three weeks paid leave each year. Of course, in addition, all public holidays are paid double time, by all companies, if staff are required to work.

Some research done by Mercer found that only the larger companies provided paid vacation, and that was far less than other western countries. i.e. 15 days paid vacation and 10 days of paid holidays for full-time employees with 10 years of tenure. The countries with the most mandatory (it's the law of the country) paid holiday time combined with paid public holidays is as follows:

1. Brazil - 41 days
2. Sweden - 41 days.
3.Finland - 40 days
4.Lithuania - 39 days
5.France - 38 days
6. Portugal - 38 days
7. United Kingdom - 37 days
8. Iceland - 37 days
9. Austria - 35 days
10. Denmark - 34 days
11. Germany - 34 days
12. Spain- 34 days
13. Poland - 33 days
14. Croatia - 33 days
15. Slovenia - 33 days
16. New Zealand - 32 days
17. Italy - 31 days
18. Tunisia - 30 days
19. Ireland - 29 days
20. Australia - 28 days.

When public holidays are paid for, it means those working on paid public holidays get paid overtime - usually double time. USA has no legal requirement for business to give paid vacation to its employees.


Quality of life in America vs other countries

As a result of recent laws mandating that Americans need a passport to get into Mexico, 46% of Americans now have passports. However, only 3.5% of Americans travel overseas and this is the number one reason that Americans think that they have the best quality of life in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the article that I have linked to this paragraph, the writer shows sixteen different areas in the way people of other countries have a better quality of life than Americans. They are:

1. Health Care
2. Nice cheese.
3.Great public transportation
4. Song contests like Eurovision
5. Longer life expectancy.
6. Football
7. Paid vacation time.
8. Superior chocolate
9. Nobody cares about sex scandals.
10. Metric system of measurements is easier to use.
11. They speak beautifully and have accents!
12. Fuel efficient cars.
13. Nudity isn't a big deal.
14. Grand Prix.
15. They have castles and beautiful old cities.
16. They have time to enjoy their lives - no stress.

Lance Freeman in his article entitled 'America - The Grim Truth' states, "Americans, I have some bad news for you: You have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by a wide margin." He speaks about the unhealthy food in the States, the sweat shop working ethic, and approaching fascism. The article is well worth a read.

Mark Manson, an expat American, in his article '10 Things Most Americans Don't Know About America' details the following ten points.

1. Few people are impressed by Americans.
2. Few people hate Americans.
3. Americans know nothing about the rest of the world.
4. Americans are poor at expressing gratitude and affection.
5. The quality of life for the average American is not that great.
6. The rest of the world is not a slim-ridden s-hole compared to America.
7. Americans are paranoid.
8. Americans are status-obsessed and seek attention.
9. Americans are very unhealthy.
10. Americans confuse comfort with happiness.

A recent study by TransWise of 2000 people showed that 35% of Americans would leave America if given the opportunity. To quote, "This percentage greatly increases for those age 18 to 34. More than half of millennials, a whopping 55 percent, said that they would consider leaving the U.S. for foreign shores."

Business Insider also published a list of countries with the best quality of life. They are:

1. Australia,
2. Sweden.
3. Canada.
4. Norway
5. Switzerland.
6. USA

American Education vs the Rest of the World

University in most countries of the world is either free or heavily subsidized. However, not as many people get to university. In Germany, for instance, only 10% qualify for university. However, as most people know, the German economy dominates the European economy, and the European economy is almost the size of the American and Chinese economy combined. In Germany, trade schools, in which students are taught skills that enable them to earn a good living, flourish. If one has a trade, one does that trade well, and one is highly respected for it. This is different to the United States model where there is no respect for those that do not have a four year degree. Ironically, the American four year degree is not highly thought of elsewhere in the world as the standard of it is very poor. However, the American Masters degree is considered one of the best in the world.

A BBC article recently stated "In 2006, Finland's pupils scored the highest average results in science and reading in the whole of the developed world. In the OECD's exams for 15 year-olds, known as PISA, they also came second in maths, beaten only by teenagers in South Korea."

According to Pearson, the world's leading academic publisher, the ten best educated countries in the world are:

  1. South Korea
  2. Japan
  3. Singapore
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Finland
  6. UK
  7. Canada
  8. Netherlands
  9. Ireland
  10. Poland

America comes in at number 14.

Best video you can listen to about how to run a country!


Unemployment and under-employment in America

The differences in unemployment globally is not worth mentioning. While Germany’s unemployment rate may be 2% lower than Americas, it is still high. This is the result of several factors, including computerisation, the approaching replacement of human beings by artifical intelligence and soft robotics, and manufacturing becoming dominant in the east. It is not coincidental that the eastern European countries which still retain their factories are the least in debt.

The difference is that when people are unemployed in the long term in America, the welfare net isn't sufficient to catch them for long term unemployment. As jobs become fewer and fewer and are paid less and less, more and more Americans are falling into poverty. The 2009 census stated that half of all Americans are living either on the poverty line or below the poverty line.

"Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream."
"Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream." | Source

Countries with high per capita income per annum...

This changes from year to year. However, generally they are the same countries in the top ten or so. In 2014, they were:

1. Qatar.
2. Luxenbourg
3. Singapore
4. Norway.
5. Brunei
6. United States.
7. Switzerland.
8. San Marino.
9. Canada.
10. Australia.

However, the country with the highest per capita wealth in the world is Switzerland. To quote "They are headed by Switzerland, which in 2011 became the first country in which average wealth exceeded 500,000 US dollars. It dropped below this mark in 2012, but this year equity price rises resulted in a new peak value of 513,000 US dollars per adult. Australia (403,000 US dollars), Norway (380,000 US dollars) and Luxembourg (315,000 US dollars) all experienced an increase in wealth per adult and retain their respective second, third and fourth places from 2012."

The World's biggest economy...

The EU has been the world's biggest economy for decades with the United States taking second place. In 2015, China became the world's biggest economy with the European Union taking second place and America taking third place.

1. China 2. European Union 3. United States
1. China 2. European Union 3. United States | Source

Best country to live in.

Again, this changes from year to year. However, America hasn't been on that list for a very long time. For 2014 to 2015, the countries are:

1. Denmark
2. Norway
3. Switzerland
4. Netherlands.
5. Sweden
6. Finland
7. Canada
8. Austria
9. Australia.
10. Iceland.

The following factors are taken into consideration: Climate, safety, percentage people employed, environment, life expectancy, corruption, education, per capita income, human development, and natural safety.

America also dropped out of the world's top ten most prosperous nations in 2012 and has not returned.

Happiest countries in the world: 1. Iceland 2. Denmark 3. Austria

Why America is becoming a third world country.
Why America is becoming a third world country. | Source

Have you ever been to Australia or Europe

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America vs The World

I have provided these statistics in one place so that they can easily be accessible to the many people who seem to want them. Should any of them be incorrect, I would appreciate feedback so that I can correct them. The purpose is to compare America, the world's most powerful country, to other countries. The article is only valid if all the information is 100% accurate, so please feel free to point out any errors if you spot them. Please provide relevant link to back up. Thank you.

© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger


Submit a Comment
  • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

    Tessa Schlesinger 

    3 years ago from South Africa

    No offence, but you need to catch up. China is now the world's largest economy. The EU is the second. And America is now third. Next, WWII was 70 years ago. Also, America was awarded the Reserve Currency in 1948, and it's success had more to do with being able to control foreign exchange than anything else. Putting men on the moon had more to do with Nazi/German brains (Werner von Braun and Einstein) than any home grown product.

    The article is about today. And while innovation, marketing , and labour might have signified US success in the 50 and 60s, these days the innovation is bought. Israel and Japan supply most of it. For example, Qualcomm in San Diego do not make their own telephone chips. They have a branch in Israel where they hire Israeli scientists to do it. And Apple hire Japanese scientists in Japan to innovate their phone, computers, etc. This has been for, at least, the last 15 years.

    Tell me, why do Americans always rush to tell you how great they are?And why not comment on the contents of the article?

  • pramodgokhale profile image


    3 years ago from Pune( India)

    Post WWII US was greatest military power plus claimed50% of the world Agricultural and Industrial output.

    These figures sustained till 80s and thereafter Japan and EU grabbed second spot and later end of century China and India began to rise.

    Innovation and marketing and labor dignity are the factors of US success and accommodates global talent in scientific research and development .


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