American president Donald Trump reportedly disparaged immigrants from Africa, El Salvador and Haiti on Thursday, asking his advisors, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Trump then suggested that the United States should bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he had met a day earlier.
Much of the outrage has focused on Trump’s racism. It’s clear he would rather have more white than brown people in the country.
But here’s another question: What possible reason do Norwegians have to emigrate to the United States?
Land of opportunity
Seen from Haiti or El Salvador, America might still look like a land of opportunity. From the vantage point of Scandinavia, not so much.
- Norway has far lower income inequality than the United States.
- According to the IMF, Norwegians have a GDP per capita of $69,249, making them the sixth richest people in the world. GDP per capita in the United States is $57,436.
- The average annual salary in Norway is $68,434 against $52,543 in the United States.
- Norway ranks first in the Human Development Index. America shares tenth place with Canada.
- Life expectancy in Norway is 81.7 against 79.2 in the United States.
- Health care is almost free of charge. The Euro Health Consumer Index (PDF) ranks Norway’s health system as the third-best in Europe. It ranks first in terms of patient rights, prevention and outcomes.
- Norway spends more than thrice as much on education as the United States.
- Reporters Without Borders rank Norway number one in press freedom. The United States are at 43.
- Norway ranks sixth in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. The United States are in eighteenth place.
- Norway ranks thirds in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. The United States are all the way down at 45.
- Norway’s homicide rate is .56 per 100,000 with a total of 29 murders in 2014. America, with 15,696 murders in 2015, has a homicide rate of 4.88 per 100,000.
- Both countries have low unemployment, hovering around 4 percent, but unemployment benefits are more generous in Norway.
- The two rank similarly in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.
America is more innovative and does have better universities, so Norwegian software developers and PhD students may want to move. The rest are better off among the fjords.