An institution or organization, such as Eurostat, the World Economic Forum or the World Bank, will occasionally conduct surveys and compile statistics on doing business, health, unemployment, job satisfaction and other subjects in which it may be possible to evaluate defining factors to compare European Union (EU) countries and the United States. However, it is important to remember that Europe is not one country and every American city or state is not the same.
*Article last updated July 1, 2013
Most people look for simplified answers to inquiries, such as:
– What’s the difference between living in the EU and United States?
– What the difference between Athens and ___?
– What are the benefits of working in the EU vs. United States?
– What are the advantages to living in Greece?
– What are the pros and cons of living in Greece?
– The good and bad of living in the EU vs. U.S. or _____ ?
Living abroad vs. the U.S. or any country is not a comparison in which there are neat, definitive answers because each place is unique and all people are highly individual. It depends on the place (i.e. living abroad where?) and the person.
Americans I’m sure would agree that Texas is incredibly different than Florida or Wisconsin, just as Europeans would agree that there is no comparison between France, Hungary and Sweden. Even cities within the same state or country can be fairly different. i.e. San Francisco is different from Los Angeles, Paris is not the same as Lyon, and Gialova has little in common with Athens. Therefore, comparing Europe and United States is too broad.
Further, these questions are completely subjective. Whether an individual actually sees differences, benefits or advantages to one place or another is highly dependent on filtering through background, exposure, status, self-awareness and other variables. For example, in California I had access to everything at anytime in every language, thus making Greece seem very limited. However, someone from Ohio who grew up with less diversity might find Greece to be overflowing with options.
The best thing to do is to pick a specific country or state (or even city) and have a look at a history of current events in the news and descriptions written by anyone outside the tourist industry or a governmental agency with managed PR. Also consider personal insight by picking up a book or reading a blog detailing real-life experiences in the target country. Many tend to match an author’s nationality to their own out of personal preference/bias, though it isn’t always necessary since experiences abroad in a certain country or city are often universal at a basic level.
If you haven’t already seen them, there are:
– “EU vs. USA labor stats” from Eurostat
– “Quality of living” and “Cost of living” rankings based on Mercer annual surveys
– “EU vs. USA: Health care at a Glance” – OECD
– “Best Places to Work,” as chosen by employees in selected nations.
– “Doing Business in Greece vs. EU, USA, Australia and Canada” – World Bank
– “Minimum salaries in the EU” – FedEE and Eurostat
Beyond that, more specific searches will be necessary.