Would you rather live in Norway?

Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonja at the Enger Tower, overlooking Duluth. Photo for MPR by Paul Walsh

“In yet another sign that America’s role as a global power is waning, the country came in 10th in a global ranking of prosperity among countries,” writes Sonali Kohli in Quartz.

“The Legatum Institute’s 2014 Prosperity Index judges countries both in terms of income and measures of wellbeing,” Kohli continues. “When the index first launched in 2007, the US tied for the #1 spot.”

The index measures a country’s wealth not only by its GDP, but also by measures like education, social freedom, health, governance, and safety and security. Here are the 10 most prosperous countries this year, according to the measures:

1. Norway
2. Switzerland
3. New Zealand
4. Denmark
5. Canada
6. Sweden
7. Australia
8. Finland
9. Netherlands
10. United States

The only thing the US beats the rest of the world in is health. It falls as low as 17 for the economy, 21 in personal freedom, and 31 for safety and security. Of course, that’s compared to the 142 countries in the index, so its position could be worse. The index uses available data for countries ranging from as early as 2005 for Norway (the earliest US measure is 2009) to 2013 to create the rankings.

Today’s Question: Would you rather live in Norway?

  • PaulJ

    I’d rather live in Wayzata. That way I’d be in a rich neighborhood and still live in a superduperpower that has contributed more to the prosperity of the earth than any nation ever (it’s not just all about US). Norway, what is that? Some sort of socialist Texas with snow and Quislings instead of sand and the Alamo?

  • Pearly

    I’m glad my Great Great Grandparents left when they did, Italy also.

  • John Dilligaf

    Wait a minute. Now you’re saying we rank #1 in health? Why do I hear a completely different story when we’re talking about the ACA (Obamacare)?

    And, no, I’d rather live in the US any day.

    • Rich in Duluth

      Take a look at the link. It’s not about access to health care. We’re being compared to 142 countries, including Haiti, Honduras, and Uruguay and some of the measures are about water quality and the beauty of the environment.

      • Adam_Irae

        It appears they weigh health _spending_ very heavily. There are a number of performance masures the US do well on, some the US do not do so well on, but only one the US is number one on -spending.

        Still, the US total score is number one, ahead of several countries that beat the US on all the actual results metrics.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No, I’m committed to living in the U.S. and having the best quality of life I can, here. I love the philosophy of our government even though that philosophy is not always met.

    However, I think that if some countries are doing better in some aspects of quality of life, we should be asking why and see if we can improve by adopting their methods or otherwise modifying ours. We can learn from others.

    • reggie

      Completely agree with your last line, even though we don’t.

      Given how stupidly we (and for this I don’t think we can park blame on either party) have squandered our national advantages and assets through petty, partisan bickering and intransigence, it’s amazing we can even see the top of the list from where we are. We’re falling in almost every category. That should be a wake-up call to our oligarchs.

  • whitedoggie44

    I travel to Norway on business about four times a year and if you like paying $10 USD for a cup of coffee or $21 USD for a single glass of wine, it would be a perfect fit. Even with their oil resources, the welfare state is very very expensive. Give me red state Texas anyday. Cheers to the 1%

    • Erling rolfson

      You are 1000 % on what a rip off. Pretty country pretty expensive

  • BlueMN

    I’d rather import their system over here, minus the constitutional monarchy part. They routinely rank higher than the US in quality of life type ratings.

  • Sue de Nim

    I’d rather live in the US and learn from the examples of Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark Canada, Sweden, Australia, Finland, and the Netherlands. Sadly, the intransigent Party of No that so recently won the Senate is too blinded by ideology to learn from the experience of other countries what actually works, preferring instead to impose on the country what their economic faith says should work. Sadly too, those who are open to having us learn from those other countries are too often too lazy to vote when the presidency is not on the ballot, giving free reign to the ideological zealots to impose their will. (So maybe the first lesson we should learn from those other countries is to do like Australia and make voting compulsory.)

  • David P.

    Norway is a beautiful country (if you like mountains, waterfalls, forests and water) with a healthy, industrious and well-educated population. Day to day life is very expensive in some regards, not so in others, and taxes are high. On the other hand crime is extremely low, disposable incomes are high and education, health-care and retirement are covered. The country runs a budget surplus, largely due to their energy reserves. I suspect the overwhelming % of Norskes would respond as most Americans – “I love my country and would prefer to live in my homeland.”

  • kevins

    I agree with Sue…learn from others that do some of those things well. The problem is that we are not homogenous and have to answer to many calls, and we insanely expect homogeneity in our culture, and disrespect, argue about and fight about differences.

  • Khatti

    I’m of Norwegian extraction, but I think I would prefer Denmark or Holland. They have legalized my favorite bad habits. Norway hasn’t.

  • Paula

    I’d rather live in Minnesota. No doubts about it.

  • John

    I think wouldn’t you rather live in Canada is a more realistic question especially since we abut the border.