Countries That Are Making the United States Look Bad
The U.S. is one of the richest, most powerful and most technologically advanced countries in the world, yet many other countries are doing things far better. Nations such as Japan, Qatar and Sweden are leaving America in the dust in many key areas.
Many countries outshine the U.S. on everything from high life expectancy to world-class education and extraordinary social support. Who is coming out on top? Take a look at the main countries that are making the United States look bad. It looks like Americans have some catching up to do.
What are some great things about Japan that are better than the U.S.? For starters, many things in Japan are efficient and convenient. The country has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. Besides the fast surfing speed, the nation's trains move extremely fast as well, topping out at 224 miles per hour.
The average life expectancy in Spain is 82.8 years, one of the highest in the world. Some researchers believe high sociability contributes to the residents’ long life spans. In fact, it's common in the country for multi-generations of families to spend a lot of time together.
Qatar is the richest nation in the world, with a gross national income per capita of $116,799 — a whopping $20,000 more than any other country. Wow! The country’s oil and natural gas revenues put a lot of money in residents’ pockets.
Expats have a lot of great things to say about Singapore after moving there. In fact, Singapore may be the best place for expats because the country gives them a better quality of life. Many people praise the island's powerful economy and great education.
Italy is a beautiful country with plenty of sunshine and a rich history. The nation is also known for its delicious food, including pasta, gelato and rich Italian-roasted coffee. With its abundance of great food, Italy may not seem like one of the healthiest countries in the world to outsiders.
The U.S. may be home to Silicon Valley, but South Korea is far more technologically advanced. In 2017, the country introduced the first virtual store to the world, providing extra convenience to smartphone users. From guide robots to self-driving buses, the nation is at the top of tech culture.
You'll find the fastest train on Earth in Shanghai, China. Despite mind-blowing speeds of 267 miles per hour, the train isn’t new or expensive. In fact, the Shanghai Maglev made its debut in 2004 and only costs $8 to ride 19 miles from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport to the Longyang metro station.
Education in the U.S. is outrageously expensive, and student loan debt has piled up to a massive $1.3 billion. However, French residents don't have to worry about affording college. Those attending a French public university often only pay a few hundred dollars per year.
Mexico elaborately celebrates death and makes the best tequilas in the world. The country also produces the best soap operas. When it comes to paid vacations, Mexico beats the U.S. hands down. (To be fair, many countries are ahead of the U.S. in this area.)
Malta is one of Europe’s cheeriest island countries. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, it’s known for its beautiful blue lagoon, megalithic temples, rich history and knights. If you like vacations, paid vacation is enshrined in law in Malta.
United Arab Emirates
Famous for its two largest cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has an extremely strong economy. It outranks the U.S. in wealth, with a gross national income per capita of $67,758. The nation's main exports are crude oil, refined oil and natural gas.
The Czech Republic has among the highest number of days for paid parental leave, allowing parents to spend more time with their new babies. The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't entitle new parents to paid leave. In the Czech Republic, parents can take more than a year off work in some cases.
Belgium does waffles, beer and chocolate better than any other country. When it comes to freedom of the press, the country also rises above the U.S. The nation's legal system allows Belgian journalists to efficiently do their jobs, while in the U.S. journalists can get arrested for covering a protest. Many journalists have even been attacked.
Known for its automotive expertise, Germany produced some of the most famous car brands in the world, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volkswagen. However, these vehicles aren't the only ways Germany beats the U.S. The country has one of the strongest passports, enabling its travelers to enter 187 countries without visas, and college is practically free.
In the past, Ireland gave the world some great literary and musical artists, including Oscar Wilde, Rory Gallagher, Phil Lynott and U2. Today, the nation gives awesome benefits to its residents, such as more money to take home. In Ireland, the minimum wage is $11.56 an hour.
The Great British Bake Off, the BBC, the Beatles and delicious sausage rolls are just a few of the wonderful things that came out of the United Kingdom (U.K.) over the years. The nation is also famous for tea, fish and chips, red buses and Big Ben.
As one of the richest countries on Earth, Luxembourg has the second-highest minimum wage in the world, at $11.85 an hour. Its happy residents get to enjoy the nation's many award-winning wines and Michelin restaurants. In fact, Luxembourg’s capital is filled with the highest number of Michelin restaurants per capita in the world.
Residents in Israel have a long life span, with an average of 82.5 years. Is it because there are more than 130 beaches in Israel? Maybe. But most researchers say the main contributing factors include adults spending so much time with their families and everyone receiving great healthcare.
Costa Rica doesn't have an army, so it invests in education instead — and receives a high rate of return. Outshining the U.S., Costa Rica boasts a 96% literacy rate. In fact, it has the highest rate in Latin America and one of the highest in the world. In the U.S., the rate is only 86%.
The land of "the Outback," Australia, is home to the famous Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef. It's also known for its low crime rates. For instance, Australia's murder rate is one person per 100,000, while the U.S. rate is 4.88 people per 100,000.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found 82 percent of Austrians feel more success, rest and enjoyment in a day than negative experiences. Austria has the best quality of life in the world, so it's no surprise that residents feel so happy.
Known for maple syrup, ice hockey and a champion NBA team, Canada has the best reputation internationally. Canadians are generally a cheery nation, thanks to clean air, free health care, excellent public education, diversity and nature galore (31,752 lakes, just for starters).
Many people know New Zealand as the filming location of The Lord of the Rings, but there's so much more to it. As the home of a record-winning rugby team, New Zealand does many things better than every other country. There's even Pokemon on some of the nation's currency!
Sweden often makes headlines for being a great place to live. For instance, the nation has superior social support and a great life expectancy, so it's no secret that it's full of cheerful residents. Holding the No. 7 spot for the happiest country, Sweden seems to have perfected quality of life and the concept of work-life-balance.
Despite being a moderately small country, Switzerland has a flourishing economy, the second-highest life expectancy in the world (83.4 years) and amazing tax breaks. Swiss citizens report being more content than Americans, which makes sense. The country is safer, cleaner and has a better work-life balance.
What are some things that keep the people in the Netherlands smiling? Often associated with a relaxed and welcoming lifestyle, the country ranks high on the life expectancy and minimum wage lists. Many citizens praise the pace of life and freedom in the country.
Known as a waterfall and hot spring paradise, Iceland is a beautiful country filled with upbeat and inviting residents. The country earned the fourth spot on the world's happiest nation list. It soundly defeats the U.S. in access to great health care and education.
Norway is the third most perky country internationally. The cold, yet beautiful nation boasts extraordinary social support and freedom. Researchers believe the cold weather helps bring residents together. Although the country has high taxes, it hasn't hurt its happiness ranking.
The Danish proudly practice a hygge lifestyle, and they are definitely benefiting from it. With a great life expectancy and a small wealth gap, Denmark comes out second on the list of happiest countries in the world. Working less and spending more time with family are contributing factors.
Finland is at the top of the happiness chart, beating every other country. The majority of residents have shelter, national daycare, a high-quality education, national health care and enough to eat, thanks to the country's commitment to social progress. Sounds marvelous, right?