While on a hiking trip yesterday, I explained to an older Korean man that his country would be a paradise to Americans who are financially strapped or environmentally conscious. Since living in Europe and the UK, I’ve maintained that trading the car-centric American lifestyle for subways, buses and bicycles is the fastest way to simultaneously reduce one’s daily expenditures and one’s carbon footprint.
Today I found this website during my daily waste of time and it basically confirmed my outlook. Although it’s a rough overview, it hits on most of my major points of comparison when talking about quality of life outside the US.
The only real downside it lists about life in Korea is the insane number of hours most people work (not me, though!). Also, personal experience has shown that Koreans are at least as car crazy as Brits or Americans, only economic and infrastructural realities prevent the middle class from having four per household, like my own family at the peak of our suburban middle-class existence.
The highlights for Americans considering relocation:
- 55.91% more chance at being employed
- spend 78.17% less money on health care
- use 36.58% less electricity
- consume 28.85% less oil
- have 30.94% less chance of dying in infancy
In case you want to question the source, ifitweremyhome.com gets its figures from the CIA World Factbook. As such it fails to mention qualitative things like “Paying less for the world’s fastest Internet connections,” and “Stress caused by getting a haircut.”
I can’t disagree with the overall picture the above numbers have created. To live as materially well as I currently do in Korea, I’d need to make at least another $10,000 a year in the US.
Now if only tacos and dark beer would catch on with the locals, I could die happily on foreign soil.