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Germany vs USA: Which Country is Better?

Germany vs USA

This question cannot possibly be evaluated completely objectively as personal feelings and cultural biases inevitably creep into the analysis. It’s important to consider that most human beings tend to view their own culture in more favorable ways. Neither country offers “paradise on Earth”.

Let’s keep it simple and focus on the major differences.

1. Career:

USA: Flexible. Easier to get a job. Easier to lose a job. Easier to “reinvent yourself”. Rewards talent, hard work and flexibility.

Germany: Rigid. Hard to find a job. High job security. Rewards loyalty and predictability. Slightly lower job satisfaction because of a reluctance to switch jobs.

2. Culture:

USA: Friendly with strangers, more religious, more proud, more self-confident, make friends quickly.

Germany: Aloof with strangers, less religious, more humble, more shy and introspective, make friends more slowly.

3. Education:

USA: University education is typically extremely expensive. Quality of schools varies dramaticly (from horrible to excellent).

Germany: University education is typically free. Typically you must know German to study. Most schools are good. But very few are excellent.

4. Entertainment:

USA: Entertainment capital of the world, better selection of television programs, better music industry.

Germany: Comparatively small entertainment industry, hardly impressive if you’ve lived in the USA.

5. Entrepreneurship:

USA: Much easier to start a company, much easier to become rich.

Germany: Harder to break through the bureaucracy, very hard to become very rich.

6. Fitness:

USA: Less time for fitness and outdoor recreation. Obesity is a serious health problem. Less free time impacts achievable fitness.

Germany: More options and more time for fitness. Massive hiking and cycling infrastructure. Obesity exists here as well, but is less critical.

7. Free time:

USA: Two weeks vacation per year is typical. There are exceptions. Working from home is becoming more popular.

Germany: Six weeks vacation per year is average. Many companies allow for reduced hours (for example, 30 hours per week). Working from home is becoming more popular.

8. Government:

USA: Two-party system. Both parties offer similar strategies in spite of advertising otherwise. World’s only super power. Huge defense and military budget. Attitudes are highly polarized. Wealth inequality is a big problem. Religion and entertainment play a big role in politics.

Germany: Multiple (more than five) party system. Low military budget. Less extreme political views. Less economic inequality. Political thinking is more rational, more serious, more separated from religion and entertainment.

9. Health care:

USA: Some people cannot get health insurance, people must work in order to maintain health insurance, good quality of health care. Currently lower health security. This may change.

Germany: Health insurance guaranteed for everyone, private health insurance competes with public health insurance to create some inequality of care, nevertheless good quality of health care. Overall higher health security.

10. Poverty:

USA: High income and wealth inequality. Higher crime rate. Highest incarceration rate. Largest prison system in the world.

Germany: Poverty is rare. Drug addicts live in poverty because of their lifestyle.

11. Privacy:

USA: Government and big tech companies (Facebook, Google, etc.) gather massive amounts of personal data.

Germany: Privacy is a big concern for Germans. US government and big US tech companies still gather the personal data of Germans anyway.

12. Safety:

USA: Gun violence and crime are a problem in many neighborhoods. Rich neighborhoods are comparatively safe.

Germany: Gun violence is not a problem. Crime exists, but much, much less than in the USA (on average).

13. Salary & Money:

USA: Salaries vary greatly (from minimum wage to six-figure incomes). Lower taxes. Capitalist system encourages buying, consumption and wastefulness.

Germany: Salaries are more uniform and slightly lower for comparable work. Higher taxes. Germans are cautious with their money and don’t like to waste. As such, they tend to experience greater financial ease in spite of earning less.

14. Transportation:

USA: Most people travel by car. Public transportation is mostly for the poor. Some cities are exceptions to this rule (New York City, Boston, Washington D.C.).

Germany: Excellent public transportation in all urban centers. Rural areas typically require owning a car.

15. Wealth:

USA: More rich people, more poor people, worship of money and luxury.

Germany: Less rich people, rich people are reluctant to show off their money due to the pervasive culture of envy.

16. Weather & Climate:

USA: Varies greatly depending on location (Florida vs. Minnesota).

Germany: Similar to North-East USA (for example, Pennsylvania), less sun in winter, very long days in summer.

Obviously, there is no possible single answer. It depends half on the country and half on you.

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