The Northern European country of Norway is well-known for having high standards of living in terms of health care, education and in several other categories. These top 10 facts about living conditions in Norway presented in the text below highlight just how much the country has achieved to date.
Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Norway
- For 15 years in a row, the United Nations Human Development Report has ranked Norway as the best country in the world to live in. One of the reasons why Norway is ranked so high is due to the country’s investment in its citizens living long and healthy lives. This investment results in a high life expectancy, which is 82.3 years. This is especially impressive when comparing this statistic to the worldwide average life expectancy of 71.5 years.
- Norway is one of the leading countries in the world as it relates to clean air and water. About 96 percent of Norwegians stated they are satisfied with their water quality and the country has the largest sales of electric vehicles in the world. Many citizens in Norway (about 25 percent), were encouraged to purchase electric vehicles due to high taxes on gasoline.
- One downside to living in Norway is that the cost of living is relatively high compared to other countries. Having the highest gas prices in the world, coupled with heavy taxation on alcohol, food, clothing and many other items leads to Norway being an expensive country to reside in.
- Although the cost of living in Norway tends to be high, this is often balanced out by the average annual income of Norwegians. The Gross National Income (GNI) in Norway in 2018 ranked in first place worldwide at $68,012. Another factor worth mentioning is that minimum wages for entry-level positions range from $16 to $21 per hour, which is also quite high compared to other countries across the world.
- The main reason for the high taxation on items in Norway is to fund the universal and single-payer health care system. Regardless of income, every citizen and resident is covered under the plan. Norwegians also have the choice to pay out of pocket and travel to a foreign country for medical procedures, which is a common practice due to the fact that wait times for procedures can be several months.
- Norway once again has the percentage of adults with a four-year degree or better at 35 percent. One leading cause for this statistic could be due to the fact that public universities in Norway are tuition-free, even for international students.
- From 2011 to 2015, poverty rates in Norway increased from 7.2 percent to 9.3 percent. Citizens in the 18-34 age group and individuals with an immigrant background are impacted the most. Young children are also disproportionately affected by the increase in poverty rates as about 17.5 percent of children live in low-income households. Some have blamed this negative trend on tax regulations that negatively impact the poorest in Norway.
- One hardship in many countries is the debate on maternity and paternity leave. Some parents are forced to return to work shortly after their child is born for financial reasons. However, in Norway, mothers have the choice of either taking 35 weeks of maternity leave at full pay or 45 weeks with 80 percent pay. Fathers also have the choice to take up to 10 weeks of paternity leave.
- Norway is ranked among the top countries around the world with the highest employment rates. Norway’s employment rate averages out to 74.4 percent, in the same category with other European countries such as Denmark, Finland and Switzerland.
- The country is also hailed as one of the safest. In some countries, feeling safe and comfortable in one’s home can be a luxury. However, in Norway, about 88 percent of citizens in Norway stated they felt safe walking alone at night and the homicide rate is at a low 0.5 percent.
The top 10 facts about living conditions in Norway prove to be positive in most aspects. Although taxes are high, tuition-free public universities, lower cost of universal health care and a higher average annual salary balances this issue out. The higher than average life expectancy rate results from universal health care being easily accessible for all citizens, and how clean the water and air is in the country. Although one negative factor to point out is the increase of poverty rates, the Norwegian government strives to increase spending from its sovereign wealth fund to continue economic growth for the country.
– Maddison Hines