In the US, public college costs more than $20,000 a year. The average cost of health insurance is over $10,000 a year. And in case of an emergency, most Americans say they don’t have even $500 on-hand to address it.
Meanwhile, in Sweden, healthcare (including dental!) is essentially free until you turn 20. After that, if your annual bills exceed about $130, a high-cost protection kicks in and covers you the rest of that year.
“You don’t have to work for health insurance or save up for college,” said Svenn Richard Andersen, a consular officer from Norway. “You might pay marginally more (in taxes) than the US, but I don’t have to spend a few thousand dollars a year on health for my family. The thought of having to pay $40,000 to $50,000 for a private school is unheard of for a Norwegian.”
Iceland had a particularly nasty time climbing out of the 2008 financial crisis. Rather than let homeowners suffer a wave of foreclosures, the country took a humane approach.
“If your house was at risk, you had meetings (with the government), they guided you,” said Bjarnadóttir Özgun. “If you go to Iceland now, you won’t see any signs of that time.”
Frederik Rubens Mortensen, a Danish finance worker who got his MBA in Los Angeles, offered a suggestion to Americans looking for a land of low homicides, drug abuse, obesity, mental illness, infant mortality, and high-school dropouts: head to his homeland, which has some of the best social mobility in the world.
“If Americans want to live the American dream,” he said, “they should move to Denmark.”