Americans work more than people in other developed nations


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It’s summer and the beach is calling, but you’re still stuck at the office, wishing robots would just take over the world already so you could at least get a vacation. Maybe you should move to Norway.

They have fjords, universal healthcare and a king (a king!) but the country’s biggest draw is that their citizens don’t have to work as much as we do. According to an economic snapshot out today from the Economic Policy Institute, Norweigans work just 36.1 weeks per year, compared to the average 45.9 weeks a year worked in the United States.


Think of what you could do with those extra 9.8 weeks a year you wouldn’t have to work, if you were a Norweigan. Travel the world. Spend time with family. Go shopping for really, really warm clothes for winter.

Other developed countries are similarly generous with vacation time. Swedes work about 36.9 weeks a year. The Danes work 37.8 weeks. The French work 39.1 weeks. Overall, the average number of weeks worked by people in developed nations: 41.1 weeks.

Workers in countries such as Italy (41.2 weeks a year) and Spain (41 weeks a year) are even luckier. They get nearly three weeks of paid public holidays by law, 13 days in Italy and 12 in Spain. Companies by law must give employees an average of 4.1 weeks paid vacation in developed countries, excluding the U.S.

Just a note: The data are from a 2007 study. Sounds like someone might have taken a Swedish-style vacation before posting the numbers.

-- Alana Semuels

Chart: Courtesy of Economic Policy Institute