Currently, the United States is regarded as one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world, with the most advanced technological base and stable economic and political systems. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the real GDP per capita of the USA accounts for $62,530, as of 2019, ranking 15th among all states (“Country comparisons,” n.d.). With this rate, the United States leaves behind Canada, the nearest political neighbor, and ally, and almost all leading and largest European countries, except Norway, whose indicator comprises $63,633 (“Country comparisons,” n.d.). The US GDP per capita mainly yields small and dwarf states, most of which are financial world centers, including Luxembourg, Singapore, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Switzerland, and others. Overall, based on this data, the US population can be considered to be one of the wealthiest globally.
Nevertheless, the GDP per capita does not mirror the actual well-being of people in countries entirely. For instance, considering the “Better Life Index” of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the US concede most European countries, such as Denmark, New Zealand, and Sweden, as well as Canada and Australia (Jordans, 2011). The Better Life Index consists of various categories, namely, income, housing, jobs, education, community, life satisfaction, and safety, among others. In this regard, it is primarily worth paying attention to the US indicators such as community, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance that equal 6.3, 7.4, 7.5, and 6.0, respectively (“The United States,” n.d.). Considering the last index, the United States is outperformed by even developing countries, including Greece, Brazil, Poland, and Slovenia. However, housing, income, and jobs have a comparatively high rank, comprising 8.5, 9.0, and 8.4 accordingly (“The United States,” n.d.). This demonstrates that although there is a moderate link between wealth and well-being, other factors also exist, strongly impacting the latter.
The national government plays a critical role in maintaining and enhancing the well-being of the population. First, it adopts different laws, acts, and ordinances directly accountable for people’s safety, work-life, community engagement, and health, which substantially affects life satisfaction. For instance, according to the OECD’s data on the US, poor work-life balance is primarily connected with high sex inequality and that 11 percent of employees overwork, resulting in additional stress and impaired personal health (“The United States,” n.d.). Besides, the OECD indicates that typical citizens devote 14.4 hours to leisure and personal care, which is less than the OECD average indicator (15 hours) (“The United States,” n.d.). Such a situation requires improved legislative regulation in employment, especially closer attention to equality and the status of the disadvantaged in this sector. Inequality thwarts many individuals from opening and developing their potential and talents, which can provoke depression and event inclination to criminality.
Furthermore, taking into consideration the safety indicator regarded as an integral element of persons’ well-being, the United States also has noticeable problems. In particular, although 74 percent of individuals state that they feel secure walking alone at night, the homicide rate is higher than average, accounting for 5.5 (“The United States,” n.d.). Homicide risk and domestic violence, especially concerning women and children, is a key factor in the development of severe mental disorders. In this regard, the government should implement stricter laws and oversight on firearm possession and crimes at home.
Finally, it is worth considering the education level of the population because it is the determinant of technological development and also well-being. In 2019, the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) revealed that American students face difficulties in Mathematics, ranking 36th among the 79 countries (Barshay, 2019). Well-educated people usually have a much better life compared to inadequately educated or illiterate individuals since the former have access better working life. Therefore, there is an acute necessity to improve educational conditions, engaging people from various social strata and races.
Barshay, J. (2019). What 2018 PISA international rankings tell us about U.S. schools. The Hechinger Report. Web.
Country comparisons – Real GDP per capita. (n.d.). CIA.gov. Web.
Jordans, F. (2011). USA comes up a bit short in global Better Life Index. USA Today. Web.
United States. (n.d.). OECD Better Life Index. Web.