By Sahid Fawaz

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden all have something in common: the majority of workers there are in trade unions.

So, is life there better or worse over compared to the lives of workers in America, where less than 20% belong to a union?

Better. Much, much better. As you can see from the numbers below, the United States worker is worse off than citizens of every one of the more unionized countries in each category but one – and in that category, the US is the second worse off.

Here are a few highlights:

Guaranteed annual paid leave:

Denmark: 5 weeks

Finland: 6 weeks

Iceland: 6 weeks

Norway: 5 weeks

Sweden: 5 weeks

United States: 0 days


Guaranteed paid parental leave:

Denmark: 32 weeks

Finland: 26 weeks

Iceland: 52 weeks

Norway: 59 weeks

Sweden: 80 weeks

United States: 0 days


Income inequality (the ratio of the average income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10%):

Denmark: 8

Finland: 5.6

Iceland: NA

Norway: 6.1

Sweden: 6.2

United States: 16


Percentage of population without health insurance coverage:

Denmark: 0%

Finland: 0%

Iceland: 0%

Norway: 0%

Sweden: 0%

United States: 15%


Hours worked per year per worker:

Denmark: 1,438

Finland: 1,643

Iceland: 1,846

Norway: 1,408

Sweden: 1,607

United States: 1,788

Add comment
  • Guest - Dan Murphy

    In so many countries in Europe and elsewhere, taxes may be higher, but wages and benefits are WAY better, and the standard of living, on average, is superior to ours. We could learn a lot from other countries -- or we can continue to be told by the politicians in power that higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions are just not possible -- which is wrong!!

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