The MANY Countries That Are Outperforming the United States

The MANY Countries That Are Outperforming the United States

Devil Cat 2, Mike Gagnon, 2020, Digital Mixed Media. Copyright Mike Gagnon 2024.


Countries that outperform the United States in education, happiness, and employment often showcase robust public policies, high-quality life standards, and effective educational systems. These nations prioritize the well-being of their citizens, ensuring access to excellent healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. We'll explore a few countries that excel in these areas, understanding the factors that contribute to their high scores.


Nordic countries, such as Finland and Denmark, consistently rank high in education. Finland's education system is renowned for its less stressful environment, highly trained teachers, and emphasis on equality. There's no standardized testing until the age of 16, except for a nationwide exam at the end of students' upper-secondary school years. Finnish children start school at age seven, and the education system focuses on learning rather than testing, fostering an environment where children thrive.

Singapore and South Korea also rank highly in education, with a strong emphasis on mathematics and science. These countries have rigorous education systems, where high expectations and competitive exams are the norms. Despite criticisms regarding the pressure it puts on students, the results are undeniable, with students excelling in international assessments like PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment).


The World Happiness Report often highlights Nordic countries such as Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland among the happiest in the world. These countries score high due to various factors including social support, income, freedom, trust, and healthy life expectancy. The happiness in these countries is partly attributed to their comprehensive welfare systems, low levels of corruption, and emphasis on work-life balance, which significantly contribute to the overall well-being of their citizens.

Switzerland and the Netherlands also rank high in happiness. These countries enjoy a high standard of living, robust healthcare systems, and effective social welfare policies. Their citizens benefit from excellent educational systems and a strong sense of community and belonging, which are crucial for happiness.


Countries with high employment rates often have dynamic economies, flexible labor markets, and policies that support job creation and worker training. Iceland, Switzerland, and Norway boast some of the highest employment rates, supported by economies that offer a wide range of job opportunities across various sectors. These countries have effective vocational training and education programs that ensure their workforce is skilled and adaptable.

Germany is notable for its dual education system, which combines apprenticeships in a company and vocational education at a vocational school in one course. This system has been successful in keeping unemployment low, especially among young people, by ensuring that education is closely linked to the demands of the job market.


The success of these countries in education, happiness, and employment can be attributed to several key factors:

  1. Social Welfare Systems: Comprehensive social welfare systems provide a safety net for the unemployed, sick, and elderly, contributing to higher life satisfaction and happiness.

  2. Education Systems: High-quality education systems with a focus on equality, teacher training, and critical thinking skills contribute to better educational outcomes and a more competitive workforce.

  3. Work-Life Balance: Policies promoting work-life balance, such as flexible working hours, generous parental leave, and ample vacation time, contribute to happier populations and more productive work environments.

  4. Economic Policies: Effective economic policies that promote job creation, innovation, and skills training ensure high employment rates and a robust economy.

  5. Community and Trust: High levels of trust in society and government, along with a strong sense of community, enhance social cohesion and contribute to overall happiness.

In conclusion, the countries that outperform the United States in education, happiness, and employment have achieved this through a combination of effective public policies, high-quality education systems, and a strong emphasis on the well-being of their citizens. These nations demonstrate the importance of investing in social welfare, education, and employment policies to create societies where people can lead happy, fulfilling lives. While the United States excels in many areas, these countries offer valuable lessons on creating a balanced society that prioritizes the happiness and well-being of its people.

Thanks for reading,

Mike Gagnon

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