10 reasons why it’s better to live in Iceland than the UK

Today is Iceland’s independence day! National Collective has published a series of articles on Iceland, including an interview with their new Prime Minister on Scottish independence. 69 years after becoming independent from Denmark, Iceland is doing far better than the media often give it credit for. Here are 10 reasons why it’s better to live in Iceland than the UK.

1) People are happier. The OECD’s Life Satisfaction report placed Iceland near the top with a satisfaction rate of 9.4. UK citizens were far less satisfied at 6.9

2) People live longer. In 2012 the UN reported than Icelanders live on average 1.6 years more than their UK counterparts.

3) The economy is growing faster. Since the start of 2012 the UK economy has stagnated with only 0.3% growth. Iceland has grown by 7.4%.

4) Unemployment is lower. The latest unemployment figures show that 7.8% of people are out of work in the UK. Unemployment is at 4.3% in Iceland.

5) Serious and violent crime is far lower. A Civitas report found far lower instances of murder, robbery and assault in Iceland compared to the UK.

6) The citizen has more democratic power. Iceland elects its parliament and head of state through national votes. In the UK the Lords and the head of state remain unelected. Iceland also uses proportional representation and has a written constitution. Furthermore, Iceland has a far stronger structure of local governance. It’s 74 municipalities – with an average population of 4,750 – achieved an average electoral turnout of 85% over the past four decades and raise 92% of their own finance.

7) Iceland plans to establish a national oil fund. This follows Norway’s example of investing the huge returns from oil for future generations. Westminster, of course, failed to establish an oil fund following the discovery of North Sea oil.

8) Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world. In a report released this year, Iceland had the highest national security, the lowest level of conflict and the lowest level of militarisation. The UK was 44th.

9) Iceland is a more equal country. The top 20% earn 3.3 times more than the bottom 20%.  In the UK the top 20% earn 5.6 times more than the bottom 20%.  Iceland also leads the world in levels of gender equality.

10) Iceland is a cleaner and greener country. Iceland has high water and air quality. Crucially, 100% of electricity production is generated through hydropower and geothermal. Renewable energy provided only 9.4% of UK electricity production in 2011.

11) Björk.

If you value happiness, health, prosperity, security, democracy, peace, equality and the environment – Iceland is doing well! On this independence day we must reflect on the lessons this has for Scotland and the society we could become.

Michael Gray
National Collective



About Michael Gray

Michael studies politics at the University of Glasgow. He admires creativity, optimism and education. He desires peace, social justice and good parties.