When talking to various people about our impending retirement to Portugal, we’ve encountered a fair amount of amazement that we could even do such a thing. To be sure, moving to an entirely different country– especially one where you don’t even speak their national language– is a daunting task for anyone. And that doesn’t even count leaving friends, family, and a DVR behind.
I mean, it’s one thing to tout YOLO! and spew phrases like, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” or go on and on about creating memories instead of accumulating stuff. But to actually move to another country? Clearly, not everyone is comfortable doing that. Probably with very good reason… I never discount the idea that we’re quite mad.
But the responses got me to pondering what our expectations are. Maybe we’re expecting to live in some sort of Shangri-La, or perhaps we’re expecting Oompa Loompas to be dancing everywhere singing songs about clueless Americans. Or maybe we’re picturing ourselves lounging on the beach, while doting Portuguese in grass skirts feed us grapes and mai-tais. Or maybe we think our life will be like one of those movie montages, with music playing in the background while we dance around Lisbon with huge smiles on our faces. (Of course, any actual dance videos of us would be dominated by us hitting our heads and tripping over each other, as well as Portuguese people shaking their heads and spinning their fingers around their ears (as in, “they’re crazy!”).)
Frankly, my actual expectations are that life will be just as mundane as it is here, especially once we learn the ropes and some of the language. Of course, that’s other than our excursions into the rest of Europe to sightsee, which is, frankly, much of the reason we’re doing this in the first place.
But, as many people who know me know, I like statistics and data. It’s one thing to hear anecdotes or determine an opinion after a visit for a few days, it’s another thing to understand the underlying data surrounding lots of issues.
A while back I read an article from someone who was decidedly against ObamaCare. Obviously it’s now the Republican-controlled government’s top priority to dismantle that. The article pooh-poohed the socialist medical care in, well, pretty much every other country (because we’re about the only ones who don’t believe it should be more socialist). One of the statistics I remember being cited was the number of physicians per capita in various European countries. According to the article writer, their low numbers in comparison were just one of the reasons he thought socialized medical care was a bad idea.
So the other day I ran across some related statistics, and I looked it up. He got it wrong, at least compared to my source: the US ranks 52nd in the world in that category. That also led me to wonder about comparing various other random statistics between Portugal and the US.
So, just for fun, here’s what my research shows (I won’t bother citing sources because this is mostly for kicks, not for any argument’s sake):
Physicians per 1,000 people
Portugal: #26 in the world, 3.3 per 1,000 people
The U.S.: #52 in the world, 2.3 per 1,000 people
(Not counting the tiny countries, Cuba has the most, followed by Belarus, Greece, Russia and Italy. Predictably, most African countries are on the bottom. My guess is Portugal ranks below the US in english-speaking doctors… which will be one of our challenges should we break a hip.)
Overall Health Systems (ranked by the World Health Organization)
Portugal: #12 in the world
The U.S.: #31 in the world
Sadly, the U.S. spends the most per capita in the entire world! And all it buys us is 31st! Holy moly! And don’t blame that on ObamaCare, that was the case well before ObamaCare was even a gleam in Obama’s eye. Maybe we should start saying we’re moving to Portugal for better health care. And I have to track down that article writer and let him know that he’s full of shit. And there are probably more proctologists in Portugal per capita than the US as well.
(The Number One health care in the world is in France, followed by Italy. The worst are of course are mostly in Africa.)
Murder rate per million people
Portugal: 158th worst in the world, 11.66 murders per million
The U.S.: 99th worst in the world, 42.01 murders per million
(Worst is Honduras with 913.5, followed by El Salvador; best non-tiny countries are Singapore, Iceland, French Polynesia, and Japan. Most European countries are far safer than the US, murder-wise. The moon is the safest by far, there has never been a murder ever recorded there, at least to date.)
Overall Crime Index
Portugal: 85th worst in the world. Crime Index: 34.55, Safety Index: 65.45
The U.S.: 46th worst in the world. Crime Index: 48.68, Safety Index: 51.32
(Lower Index numbers are better, Portugal is about as safe as Germany overall. Based on the Safety Index alone, either we, or our safety pins, are safer in the U.S., however, we’re more likely to be the victim of a crime than in Portugal. Maybe our cops have better aim, I dunno. In other words, I have no idea what the difference in Crime Index and Safety Index means, and to find out involved more research, so to hell with that. I’ll just stick with the 85th and 46th things.)
(The best in Europe is Austria, followed by Denmark and Switzerland. Worst is Ukraine, followed by Montenegro and Russia. Interestingly, Ireland is 5th worst in Europe. Too much liquor would be my guess as to why. Venezuela is worst in the world, South Korea is the best. I’m guessing they don’t want their northern neighbors to hear anything bad going on and invite a nuclear response, so they behave better than everyone else.)
Per Capita Retail Space Comparison
I couldn’t find a country by country comparison, but I thought this was interesting. Think we’re a little over-consumerized in the US?
- US: 46.6 square feet (about ten times what all of Europe averages)
- UK: 23.0 square feet
- Canada: 13.0 square feet
- Australia: 6.5 square feet
- India: 2.0 square feet
- Mexico: 1.5 square feet
- The Moon: 0.0 square feet (although there is a little bit of litter strewn about)
Life Expectancy by Country:
Portugal: #49 in the world, 79.16
The U.S.: #43 in the world, 79.68
(Best is Monaco, followed by Japan and Singapore. If you want a short life, move to Chad, Guinea-Bissau, or Afghanistan. The moon will also cut it short especially if you’re not wearing a spacesuit.)
Countries ranked on math and science results for 15 year olds:
The U.S.: #29
(So poor little Portugal is virtually tied with the US in educating their young in math and science! Best is Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. Worst is Ghana, then South Africa and Honduras, followed by the moon.)
Percentage of Christians
For those of you worried about our souls, Portugal is made up of 84.3% Christians, while the US has 71%. Get thee behind us, ye heathen scum!
Lowest is the moon, followed by Somalia followed by Afghanistan. The Vatican wins with 100% (hard to imagine there’s not that one guy); the next non-tiny country with the most Christians is Romania.
World Happiness Report (sure, it’s subjective, but hey)
Portugal: #84 in the world, 5.123
The U.S.: #13 in the world, 7.104
(Best is Denmark, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Nor– … hell, all the Scandinavian countries. No wonder why Bernie likes them so much! Saddest? The moon, then Burundi, Syria, Togo, Afghanistan). Presumably, Portugal’s low ranking has something to do with a poor economy, but that’s one of the reasons we can even move there. They want our property-investment money. Besides, we’re certain this ranking will spike up just because Carolyn and I are moving there!)
Under-five Mortality Rate (per 1,000 live births):
Portugal: #41 in the world
The U.S.: #5 in the world
(Best is Norway, then Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, U.S., Germany. The U.S. does a lot better than the last article I read on this topic. Worst is North Korea… maybe infants are smarter than we think: would you want to keep living if you found yourself born in North Korea?)
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators. Again, we’re very aware that Portugal would have a low ranking here. Which is why it’s affordable and that they want us to bring in our money!
Number one is Norway, followed by Australia, Switzerland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, and then the US and Canada. Portugal ranks 43rd, right between Chile and Hungary. The moon is currently last, although the Chinese are trying to land someone there in order to move it above Niger, which is otherwise last on the list.
So there you have it. I’m not 100% sure what I’ve learned after all that, but it was kinda fun!