In America, things aren’t looking too rosy for millennials. Student debt is a 1.3 trillion dollar crisis. The future of social security is up in the air. Wages are stagnant, while home prices are on the rise. A study by Credit Suisse found that much of this generation will be worse off than their parents.
In Norway, though? The future is bright.
The BBC reports that Norway is actually seeing its millennials make more money than ever before. “Norway is making a new name for itself as the only major economy in Europe where young people are getting markedly richer,” the article states, citing the Luxembourg Income Database and U.K’s The Resolution Foundation.
On average, Norwegian twenty-somethings make around $56,200, whereas the highest mean income for millennials in America is around $40,000. (And that’s just for Washington D.C. In North Carolina, for example, it’s around $19,000.) Granted, America has a much bigger and diverse population—so it may not be fair to compare the two side by side. But take this statistic: “Young Norwegians have enjoyed a 13 percent rise in disposable household income in real terms compared to Generation X (those born between 1966 and 1980) when they were the same age.” Americans, on the other hand, have seen a drop of five percent, Germans, nine percent, and in some areas of Southern Europe still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, up to 30 percent. (A small solace? America’s youth unemployment rate is one percent lower than Norway’s.)
But millennials aren’t just making more money; they’re happier. The World Happiness Report ranked Norway as the second happiest country in the world this year (in 2017, they were number one). The United States was 18.
So, what is Norway doing differently than the rest of the world?
It doesn’t hurt that the country is gorgeous, too. In Rough Guide’s annual survey, readers ranked Norway as the 17th most beautiful country in the world.Oslo, in particular, is coming into its own as a destination. “There is an emphasis on craft, tradition, and authenticity that you won’t find anywhere else in Scandinavia,” Vogue writer Todd Plummer says of the city. And even in the frigid winter months, Norwegians cuddle up with a concept they call koselig. As Jenna Wortham writes, “for Norwegians, winter is not something to be endured; it is something to be enjoyed, with small pleasures taken liberally and often, as part of their way of life.”