Saturday, January 16, 2010

EU vs USA, Part IV

The chart above is based on data in the 2004 Timbro study "EU vs. USA" (Table 3.3) which finds that the average poor household in America has 25% more living space (1,228 square feet) than the average European household (976.5 square feet), and the average American household has 92% more space (1,875 square feet) than the average European household.

Adjusted for differences in household size, the average poor American household has 11% more living space per person than the average European, and the average American has 82% more living space per person than their European counterpart.


At 1/16/2010 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why Americans have more stuff - we have more space to put it in.

At 1/16/2010 12:51 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

I challenge the living space statistics. 2.3 million U.S. residents live in spaces less then 200 sq. ft. !

If the residents of these small spaces had made better choices the U.S. would still #1 over Europe.

At 1/16/2010 2:12 PM, Blogger Dean L said...

gettingrational: 2.3 million out of 306 million represent less than 1% of the population of the country. And you are talking specifically about inmates.

I challenge your challenge.

At 1/16/2010 2:31 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

Dean L, actually the living space for these 2.3 million Americans is less then 100 Sq. Ft. The Super Max facility is 12' x 7' in acutal living space size. This would skew the U.S. statistic down.

If my college statistics tutor is reading, or any other competent statistician, what is the average living space when this population' living space is taken into account?

At 1/16/2010 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And next:

Living space statistics "proof" that Japanese are utterly poor.


At 1/16/2010 7:19 PM, Blogger moneybagzz said...

"Living space statistics 'proof' that Japanese are utterly poor."

I don't know if that wording is entirely applicable.

Given the scarcity of land in Japan, and the relatively high population density, Japanese consumer choices in living space generally tend to be limited; not exactly poor but lacking the choice of richer countries (in terms of space).

At 1/16/2010 9:34 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The U.S. will become more like the E.U. where taxes and prices are higher.

Obama is stirring-up and promoting hatred towards U.S. corportions, including banks, insurance, health care, and energy firms. Raising taxes and regulations on U.S. firms will be passed through to consumers. U.S. firms will still make an accounting profit, although they'll produce less and there may be fewer of them. Ultimately, U.S. households and consumers will be burdened with more taxes and higher prices.

The banking and economic crisis was caused by the failures of government, including "too big to fail," the Bernanke Fed restrictive monetary stance, contractionary fiscal policy, allowing Lehman to fail, and massive government spending on inefficient programs.

Can we really blame Wall Street or the banks for creating and capturing trillions of dollars in the global economy, through massive efficiencies, distributing that wealth to the masses, including lower income Americans, and earning profits in the process?

At 1/16/2010 11:29 PM, Anonymous Benny "Tell It LIke It Is Man" Cole said...

I like these comparisons, but GDP per capita might not be the only measure of wealth. If health care costs take a smaller fraction of GDP in Europe than the USA, then they could have roughly the same living standards (assuming the level of health care was the same).

Likewise if there is good public transportation, then a smaller car might not really result in a lower living standard.

My eyeballs tell me life is better now in some Northern European countries and Japan than it is in the United States. Safe streets--what are they worth? Good public schools?

A lot of this has to do with culture, not the chosen economic system. A strong culture with a good work ethic and low crime rate is a better place to live.

Anyway, two generations ago, all these countries were way behind the USA, and now we are all neck-and-neck.

Haiti started to practice free trade in 1994. Yeah, wowie-zowie, they boomed ahead. Afghanistan and Haiti both have smaller government outlays as fraction of GDP than the USA.

For every anecdote, there is a counter-anecdote.


At 1/17/2010 4:51 AM, Anonymous Man of LaMancha said...

Uh, I suspect this has something to do with population density. Ya think?

More space means space is cheaper.

Germany is slightly smaller than Montana but has more than 82 times its population.

Europe is small. That's why many Europeans came to former colonies in the Americas.

In fact, if the entire world population were herded into the borders of the United States, we'd have a national population density of 1900 people per square mile. That's 1000 persons per square mile LESS than Bangladesh.

Thanks for stating the obvious.

At 1/17/2010 7:48 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Haiti started to practice free trade in 1994. Yeah, wowie-zowie, they boomed ahead. Afghanistan and Haiti both have smaller government outlays as fraction of GDP than the USA"...

Hey pseudo benny does the sun rise in the west on your planet?

Haiti, what a paradise!

At 1/17/2010 10:10 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Square feet based on population density is an oversimplification. The average new house constructed in the U.S. is 2,200 square feet compared to 1,900 square feet in Canada, which may be more like the E.U. than the U.S.

Also, I stated before, Europeans can raise their living standards substantially by selling their assets, exchanging euros for dollars, and moving to the U.S.

At 1/17/2010 11:15 AM, Blogger auglaize county said...

Which couple has a higher quality of life--the dwellers in a 900 sq. ft. apartment in Paris, or those in a 1800 sq. ft. ranch house in Flint Twp.?

At 1/17/2010 11:52 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The U.S. was basically a wilderness 200 years ago, while Europe had thousands of years of accumulated wealth.

I noticed, a lot of people fled California for Colorado, because the quality of life is much better. Almost everything is cheaper. Some items are much cheaper, e.g. houses, which are newer, better, and much larger, including large lot sizes. There's still a disequilibrium, because the quality of life in California remains much lower (in many ways) than in Colorado.

At 1/17/2010 3:07 PM, Anonymous Dexter said...

The problem with France is it's full of French.

Quality of life is a matter of personal preference and means. Compare a 900 sq ft home in Paris with and equally expensive 1200 sq ft home in San Francisco or New York. Now you are making an apples to apples cultural comparison.

As far as population density goes, Canada is nothing like the EU. Europe's high cost, tiny living spaces are due largely to population density. Many European countries, centuries ago, levied onerous taxes based on house size. So they were small and the streets were designed accordingly.

At 1/17/2010 3:41 PM, Blogger KO said...

gettingrational said...

I challenge the living space statistics. 2.3 million U.S. residents live in spaces less then 200 sq. ft. !

The cell isn't the full living space. They don't spill the prisoners out onto dirt lots to shower, eat, or watch tv. They have indoors spaces for those.

Additionally per the US census bureau, the entire prison better fits the definition of "household" than a cell does since they have shared living arrangements. They certainly don't qualify as being "separate living quarters" which is one definition of household.

"A household includes all the persons who occupy a housing unit. A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live and eat separately from any other persons in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall. The occupants may be a single family, one person living alone, two or more families living together, or any other group of related or unrelated persons who share living arrangements. (People not living in households are classified as living in group quarters.)

At 1/17/2010 5:19 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

OA, I was trying to have a little fun with "living space" statistics.

I actually agree with the sentiment of the report and the overall conclusions of The Timbro Study. On page 28 of the Report are two sections that very eloquently address why the U.S. has economic advantages over Europe:

Section 4.3 Equilisation policy and large public sector also have their problems

Section 4.4 The Americans work on the job; while the Europeans work at their leisure

At 1/17/2010 5:35 PM, Anonymous geckonomist said...

Why doesn't Mr. Perry tests his hypothesis and compares the house size of the EU citizens of Luxemburg with those of neighbouring countries?

When his hypothesis is correct, living space in Lux should be much bigger than in Germany, Belgium and France, and much bigger than in the US bar DC.

If that hypothesis does not pass this test, perhaps Mr. Perry should throw it the bin.

At 1/17/2010 10:27 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Dexter, it may be true "tiny living spaces are due largely to population density." However, some of it may be due to private wealth.

It would be interesting to know the median square footage of houses in rural France.

Also, you say "Canada is nothing like the EU." Then it may be nothing like the U.S. either :}


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