Narrower Atlantic

There is an absolutely fascinating article in Prospect about the relative disparities of the United States and Europe in terms of the many, many social statistics that are collected these days. The author makes the excellent point that if you consider the whole range of Europe, from Sweden to Greece, you end up with America often falling somewhere in the middle. This is true of crime rates, poverty, and social services.

One of the areas where the United States does in fact stand out is education. We have more college graduates as a percentage of population, spend more money at all levels per student, and have a more comprehensive public education system than most countries in Europe. As I have noted in this space before, I don't know that this is actually a good thing. European schools are more likely to track students by academic ability, and their vocational options are often excellent.

I would have liked to see the sources more directly. The author lists the agencies from which he selected this information at the end of the article, but it would be nice to see more data. I don't know the intended audience of Prospect however, so more graphs may have not been wise. There are also a lot of potential pitfalls when comparing transnational data like this. Unless you check, you cannot be sure that the same things are being recorded. However, for a first approximation, this article is pretty good.

h/t DarwinCatholic