Americans, You Have the Worst Quality of Life in the Developed World — By a Wide Margin

American Flag

Photo: BrokenSphere (CC)

Lance Freeman writes on Escape From America Magazine:

Americans, I have some bad news for you:

You have the worst quality of life in the developed world — by a wide margin.

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home. I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

Consider this, you are the only people in the developed world without a single-payer health system. Everyone in Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand has a single-payer system. If they get sick, they can devote all their energies to getting well. If you get sick, you have to battle two things at once, your illness and the fear of financial ruin. Millions of Americans go bankrupt every year due to medical bills, and tens of thousands die each year because they have no insurance or insufficient insurance. And don’t believe for a second that rot about America having the world’s best medical care or the shortest waiting lists…

Read More: Escape From America Magazine

29 Comments on "Americans, You Have the Worst Quality of Life in the Developed World — By a Wide Margin"

  1. justagirl | Jun 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm |

    so lance got an excellent opportunity in america to travel the world and decided to write home. we got your message lance.

  2. I tend to agree. I spent 1/3rd of my life living abroad, and while there are most assuredly places that are far worse, there are indeed places that are better to live in.

    The job now is to stop running about like some douche with a foam #1 Finger on his hand screaming “We're #1! We're #1!” and make it a reality, not a cheese-ass slogan.

  3. Hamsanath437 | Jun 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm |

    Doesn't anyone get sick of anti-american crap coming from americans? Or annoyingly patriotic crap coming from americans? Maybe if people stopped acting like drama queens and incendiaries and wrote something coherent and tranquil, they would be taken seriously beyond their own camps.

    And the stupid prescription drug comments are just uneducated and offensive. Saying drugs are overprescribed went out of fashion half a decade ago. People have been seriously helped by meds and its up to individuals and doctors to make the decision about whether or not to use them as treatment. Blame the people making those decisions, not the drugs.

    • When it comes to the overprescription of drugs I will happily remain unfashionable
      What has become unfashionable in the medical industry is the use of the word 'cure' which has been replaced by the word 'treatment' as was shown in your comment.
      I will happily take medication that cures me, as I did recently with an infected cut, but to be medicated for the rest of my life just to treat symptoms not to mention enduring debilitating side effects knowing that it won't cure me is ludicrous
      But what if I get some disease like cancer you might ask ? My options are to die from the disease or to seek treatment, which may increase my lifetime but in a limited capacity perhaps, until I die from the disease and the treatment. A third option is to seek an alternative cure but the pharmaceutical industry stringently discourages this.

      This is the system that the article alludes to.Big Pharma has got it made.Their product is researched for free, the money funnelled through various govt funded foundations and a massive labour pool of well intentioned volunteers. They can now fund scientific research which means they now own it. They tell us wether it will work or not. Presciption drugs require no marketing which frees a lot of dollars for advertising painkillers.
      Then they train the doctors who with godlike status go out and tell the masses that they must buy their product.The doctor has the authority and the credibily. Decision by the individual is not encouraged.
      But their product is so expensive that the government actually buys it for them (well in Australia they do) using taxes to do so. Now even the healthy are buying their product.
      So I choose the fourth option – prevention – another word that is unfashionable in the medical profession but is a cornerstone of chinese medicine. Diet, lifestyle, exercise etc is how to be proactive in avoiding the sickness industry

    • GoodDoktorBad | Jun 8, 2010 at 8:02 am |

      I'm still waiting on “coherant and tranquil”, or are you too much of a “drama queen” to worry about it?

      Angry, offended blanket statements like yours are just as “uneducated and offensive” to any one who is not in your “camp”, camper…..

  4. Another backpacker-across-europe in love with places he doesn't fully understand because he didn't grow up there. America has his problems (although most of his complaints are ripped to shreds in the comments), but most of the countries in question have their own set of problems that are just as bad, but since they're not politically interesting, no one is writing about the terror of living in the UK (considering their big brother scenario come to life, they should). He certainly has no room in his mind for why certain things wouldn't work for America they way they do in other places, especially given the population size.

    • dumbsaint | Jun 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm |

      'Politically interesting'? Arrogant much. Maybe some countries find it foolish to waste taxpayer money making a dog and pony show out of their politics. Perhaps some countries media find it useful to report on politics in a somewhat sensible fashion rather than sensationalized hyperbole. How many streamers and flags should we buy to make our boring politics interesting?

  5. Two things, Lance.

    Thank you for pointing out all the terrible flaws in this country that we live with daily…

    …but since you couldn't be bothered to stay and help fix them…fuck you…and good riddance.

  6. MrTwilight | Jun 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm |

    He got some things right. Corporations have too much sway. Our diet is making us sick. Getting medical treatment in America costs too much.
    My ancestors came here looking for a better place. That's not a reason to leave if things aren't perfect.

    • Bobsacamano82 | Nov 13, 2010 at 2:39 am |

      You only get one life, so it is a perfect reason to leave. Both of my siblings have already left.

  7. Well said Lance. At least you went out into the world and were able to make comparisons based on your own experiences. I wonder how many commenters have done this.

  8. Christopherdemilio | Jun 8, 2010 at 7:26 am |

    Why not stay and enlighten us? Oh yeah, I forgot, you're too good for the village that raised the idiot.

  9. Hmmm… I traveled the world myself, living and working in 6 countries, and I came back because I like the bits of anarchy that we have here. Aside from healthcare here being overpriced and inefficiently delivered, I totally disagree with almost all of his other points. Inexperienced expats tend to hold the sorts of views expressed above because they are escaping something back home, but they usually don't bother the rest of us obnoxious drivel like this. And it's not just an American phenomenon, I have seen world travelers from other countries suffer from this sort of lack of perspective in their first couple of years abroad. I tend to avoid these simpletons like the plague.

  10. Cerebralcaustic | Jun 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm |

    Yeah, but when the Chinese protested the brutality of Communist oppression in Tiananmen Square, what iconic landmark did they create in miniature as an inspiration to their cause?

    A bust of Karl Marx? No.

    The Eiffel Tower? No.

    The Canadian Maple leaf? No.

    The Kremlin? No.

    The Union Jack? No.

    The Statue of Liberty? Yes!

    • So what? Symbols are less important than reality, and neither country is free.

    • Bobsacamano82 | Nov 13, 2010 at 2:37 am |

      Times have changed. Your statement would have been valid in 1884, but unfortunately, many things have changed.

  11. Sitepro2000 | Jun 9, 2010 at 8:44 pm |


    I'm writing / compiling a booklet describing the FDA-reported adverse events for the most popular prescription drugs – written in plain English. I feel that if people are presented with the real side effects and adverse events of these drugs in a way that is easily understood they would be less likely to endanger their own lives and the lives of those they love by taking drugs just because they have seen them on TV or been prescribed them by their doctor.

    The booklet I'm working on is a compilation and organization of the top reported adverse events reported to the FDA in connection to the top 100 most prescribed and highest grossing prescription drugs.

    In order to help market this book once completed I am trying to get as many people as possible to fill out a short survey. I've put it up on my website at Those peple who fill out the survey will receive a free pre-release copy of this E-book as soon as it's done.

    I was wondering if you could mention this on your blog and do the survey yourself.

    Thank you for your time.



  12. Well, part of the problem is that the poor in America are largely still slaves to their religion; which should have ceased to hold any serious intellectual sway over peoples' lives in the late 18th century if not earlier, and it traps them in an anti-intellectual state of mind thus preventing them from being open to progressive movements and ideas in society which would allow them to seek to better their lives.

    Most Europeans and Canadians aren't controlled by the tenets of Christian religion which aside from a few moral precepts (treat others as you would like to be treated, don't kill people) that are is totally bogus and enslave so many of the poor in the USA, thus they are more receptive to actual ideas that could enrich their lives.

  13. Yep, clearly an accurate description of the present-day America. Americans have only one outstanding character trait and that is an incredible appetite for bullshit: they'll swallow it non-stop for their entire lives. Hence, we've become the biggest collection of laughable monkeys on the planet. Oh, and yes, the secondary trait of loving guns and blood is not to be overlooked. Bullshit/gun-loving-monkeys is a most incendiary combination and should make for one last hell-of-a July ending for the biggest nation of fools ever on this green earth.

  14. thewatcher | Jun 11, 2010 at 1:01 am |

    Team America FUCK YEAH!…

  15. Estani2012 | Jun 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm |

    You are right to certain structural extent. The rich gets the most benefits while commoners here in the United States has to struggle unlike other developed countries.

  16. Estani2012 | Jun 19, 2010 at 11:49 am |

    You are right to certain structural extent. The rich gets the most benefits while commoners here in the United States has to struggle unlike other developed countries.

  17. Bobsacamano82 | Nov 13, 2010 at 6:32 am |

    Yes, because only Americans have the freedom to travel abroad *end sarcasm.

    Go back to your guns and jesus.

  18. Bobsacamano82 | Nov 13, 2010 at 6:37 am |

    Times have changed. Your statement would have been valid in 1884, but unfortunately, many things have changed.

  19. Bobsacamano82 | Nov 13, 2010 at 6:39 am |

    You only get one life, so it is a perfect reason to leave. Both of my siblings have already left.

  20. justagirl | Nov 14, 2010 at 11:23 pm |

    are you tawkin ta me?!?? chsh.

Comments are closed.