- Part 1: Denmark is the world’s happiest nation because of the following reasons (Not true)
- Part 2: Denmark has a $20/hour minimum wage (No, it does not).
- Part 3: Denmark has a 33 hour work week (No, it does not)
- Part 4: Denmark has Free University (yes, but read why)
- Part 5: Denmark has Free Childcare (No, it does not – this claim is a lie).
- Part 6: Denmark has Free Healthcare, sort of
- Denmark has free tuition because …
- College grads earn only slightly more than high school grads (2015 data says just 11% more), reducing incentives to go to college.
- A shrinking youth population
- Fewer Danish adults have a college degree compared to the U.S.
- Denmark has economic reasons to pay students to attend college.
It appears Denmark has free college tuition, in part, and possibly a large part, because of little difference in pay between those with a Bachelor’s degree and those with a secondary education. Consequently, in Denmark’s equality culture, there may be little incentive to go to college unless the government provides free education and pays students to attend universities.
FREE UNIVERSITY TUITION
- College is free and Denmark pays students a stipend to attend college!
- University Bachelor’s degrees are 3 years (not 4 as in the U.S.); some “Professional Bachelor” degrees are 3 to 4 1/2 years in duration. The Danish college system is different than the U.S. system. The U.S. also spends more money on tertiary education, as a percent of GDP, than any other OECD country. 85% of US college students receive scholarships, grants or loans to fund higher education.
- Admission to Danish universities depends upon passage of potentially many exams, and starting your study program path in high school (such as in science or engineering), and passing an comprehensive exam at the end of each year in college, in order to continue to the next year.
WHY DO DENMARK AND SOME EU COUNTRIES OFFER TUITION FREE COLLEGE?
- The economic value of college degree is low. In Denmark, a college degree adds little value to one’s income [just 11% per 2015 OECD report, Table A6.1a]; in the U.S. a college degree adds an average of 86%. In Denmark’s equality economy, there is small financial incentive to attend college, hence, they pay students to attend college.
- “In the U.S., earnings for tertiary graduates are 86% higher on average than those for people with only secondary education, and in Hungary they are more than double. At the other end of the scale, the difference is smallest in Denmark, where graduates earn on average 25% more than non-graduates [per OECD-much older data], and Spain, where they earn 29% more” [or just 11% per 2015 OECD report]
- Several EU countries have experienced negative native population growth rates, including Denmark. (See here and here and here and here (Table 3.2 age 16-19)
- Their youth populations are shrinking (Table 3.2 see Danish row for age 16-19)
- Their immigration policies specifically seek young, educated adults (and like many countries, intentionally discriminate against older adult immigrants).
- They lag behind other western nations in percent of adults with a college degree.
DENMARK HAS FEWER COLLEGE GRADS THAN THE U.S.
In spite of free tuition and paying students to attend college, Denmark lags behind the U.S.
- 27% of adults have a college degree in Denmark (as of 2010)
- 32% of adults in the U.S. have a college degree (as of 2010)
BUT see additional notes below – newer data shows both with larger percentages.
Future posts will look at:
- Part 1 DEBUNKED: Denmark is the world’s happiest nation because of the following reasons (Nope)
- Part 2 DEBUNKED: Denmark has a $20/hour minimum wage (No, it does not).
- Part 3 DEBUNKED: Denmark has a 33 hour work week (No, it does not)
- Part 4 Denmark has free university tuition (True, but you may be surprised to learn why)
- Part 5 Denmark has free child care (No they do not)
- Part 6 Denmark has free health care (True at point of service, but not true in terms of the flat “Health” tax charged on everyone to pay for that care)
Text for Search Indexing
Why is the Denmark ranked the happiest country in the world by the United Nations?
$20 minimum wage
33 hour work week
Free Child Care
Free Health Care
Why is Denmark the happiest country in the world?
$20 minimum wage
33-hour work week
Share if America should follow their lead
Denmark v. USA
$21/hr. minimum wage $7.25/hr. minimum wage
Free healthcare, childcare, college and job training – Healthcare, childcare and college are a luxury, can bankrupt you or saddle you with debt
Paid sick and parental leave – No paid sick/parental leave
Only 6.1% of children live in poverty – 23.1% of children are poor, highest rate in rich world
Ranked #1 happiest country
Ranked #1 country for business
Ranked #1 most unequal rich country
Share if Americans can learn from Denmark!
Additional Notes on Degree Completion
Use caution when examining country degree completion rates. Most countries use shorter college terms than the U.S., partly to inflate their ranking on charts like this. Because of differences in how a college degree and how the population is defined, different surveys produce different percentages and rankings. Even when the surveys are done by the same organization! Percentage measures of all adults age 25-64 are also biased by the population age distribution because far more young are now attending college than did the older population when they were young. A country with an older population will appear to have lower college attainment while a country with a younger population will appear to have a higher college attainment, even if both have the same percentage of young people graduating from college.
A newer OECD chart says Denmark has 36% tertiary degree completion but that a Bachelor’s degree adds just 11% to the salary versus a secondary school graduate (A6.1a shown as 111%).
Another OECD report Table A1.a says Denmark has a 31% Bachelor/Masters/Doctoral completion in the age group 25-64 and the U.S. has 34%.
Here’s a 40+% value for the US – this higher number includes 2-year and vocational training programs, in addition to traditional 3 or 4 year Bachelor’s degrees: