Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Statistical Comparisons

I was discussing some of the societal outcomes here in Norway with a loved one back home, and he was pretty surprised--thinking the numbers couldn't possibly add up. I did some research on costs, outcomes, etc.

There is the question of whether this all has to do oil. Although my quick analysis won't fully answer that, on the surface the answer is no. I'm sure it helps GDP and per capita income, but direct Oil Revenue (which is enormous) goes into a long-term pension fund (which does ultimately allow for a more generous social security program), but expenditures are for the most part unhelped by oil.

The annual budget for 2007 (not counting on Oil Activity) was 690 billion K., and the annual non-oil income revenue was 687.2 billion. There was a higher gap in 2008, although oil revenues more than covered this. It should be noted that oil does provide a significant bump (30%) to overall revenue, but that doesn't go into the budget (it goes into a fund for later, it appears--social security is included in the budget).

Norway has a much higher overall tax rate than the US (as a percentage of GDP—so this includes corporate taxes, etc.). In the US, we end up paying 27.3%, and in Norway they pay 44.3% (it’s 51.3% in Sweden).

Norway spends roughly 4% of its national budget on defense. Foreign Aid accounts for 3%.

The US spends nearly 20% on Defense and over 8% on debt interest. It seems the the Norwegian's don't spend much on debt. International Affairs (which would include many non-aid forms of money) accounts for 1.28% of US federal budgetary expenditures, by the way.

In the US, 27% complete University Education, versus Norway, which is 24%.

The abortion rate in Western Europe is half that of the North America, Northern Europe is about 20 percent lower, this despite much less cultural ambivalence about the topic.

Norwegian life expectancy exceeds the US expectancy by 1.7 years.

The Human Development index, which looks at GDP per capita, literacy, life expectancy, etc., ranks Norway as #1 in the world and the US as #12.

The Infant Mortality rate in Norway is 3.3 and 6.3 in the US. Note that there are many countries without the per capita money of the US that surpass us… (Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Cuba…)

In the US, several sources say that the United States gives the largest amount to charity. I could not find the numbers for Norway. The average person in the US gives 2.2% of their income.

The murder rate in Norway is nearly four times as high as in the US. This could have to do with levels of urbanization, of course.

The happiness quotient is likely to have a high level of subjectivity...but we are 13th and Norway is 8. I'm guessing the differences are fairly negligible.

Okay, that was kind of a lot of work, and I expect only about five of you will read bed now.


Todd said...

Ron, I am a day late and a dollar short but I read your stats. Very interesting. My maternal grandfather came over on the boat from Nord Fjordeid near Olesun when he was in his teens so I have some second cousins over there that someday I would like to visit. I am living vicariously through you on this Scandinavian leg of your venture. Nice work, keep it up.

Todd said...
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