FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 file photo, US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Africans woke up on Friday Jan. 12, 2018 to find President Donald Trump taking an interest in their continent. Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
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Who'd prefer their country to Trump's U.S.? Norwegians would

9 Comments
By MARK LEWIS

Norwegians generally live longer than Americans. There's a generous safety net of health care and pensions. And although it's pricey, the country last year was named the happiest on Earth.

President Donald Trump says the United States should take in more Norwegians, but is it any wonder that more Americans are going the other way?

The country of 5.2 million people that seldom makes global headlines awoke Friday to the news that Trump wanted to have more immigrants from Norway, rather than Haiti and countries in Africa that he disparaged with a vulgar term.

The comments came after Trump met Wednesday with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Washington. His remarks were seen in Oslo as racially charged and sharply at odds with Norwegian values of inclusivity.

"This says a lot about what Trump thinks it means to be an American. It is more about ethnicity than shared values," said Hilde Restad, an associate professor in international affairs and a former U.S. resident.

She added that Norwegians generally didn't want "to be flattered by this U.S. president in this way."

Henrik Heldahl, a commentator for the political website Amerikansk Politikk, said the sentiment would have been welcomed in Norway had Trump used less coarse language for Haiti and African countries.

He said "it could have been a compliment and a nice sending off for Erna Solberg as a trusted U.S. partner," Heldahl said. "But the way he said it guarantees that the reaction here will be very negative."

Emigration from Norway to the U.S. hit its peak in 1882 when almost 29,000 mostly poor Norwegians crossed the Atlantic. In 2016, however, only 1,114 Norwegians moved to the U.S., while 1,603 Americans moved to Norway.

Trump's comments were unlikely to trigger an exodus from one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Oil-rich Norway ranks fourth in the world for GDP per person, according to the World Bank, compared with the U.S., which was eighth. Norway also boasts a universal health care system, low unemployment and $1 trillion "rainy day" fund fueled by its offshore oil and gas resources that helps pay for generous pensions and other social welfare programs.

Norwegians also have a life expectancy of 81.8 years on average, making them the 15th longest-living people in the world, according to the World Health Organization. The U.S. is in 31st place, with a life expectancy of 79.3 years.

"Why would people from Norway want to immigrate here? They have actual health care, and longer life expectancy," author Stephen King wrote on Twitter.

Last year, Norway soared to the top slot in the World Happiness Report. The U.S. was 14th in the latest ranking, down from No. 13 in 2016, and over the years Americans steadily have been rating themselves less happy.

Not that the Nordic land of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" is a perfect paradise: It's gloomy from a lack of sunlight for most of the winter, temperatures are comparable to the northern United States, and the cost of living is high — a beer can cost as much as $12, and so can a meal at McDonald's.

It also is not as ethnically homogenous as some might think. About 17 percent of inhabitants are immigrants or children of immigrants.

Norway has its own battles over foreign-born migrants, with the populist Progress Party — a junior partner in the ruling coalition — calling for a tightening of immigration controls.

Solberg's U.S. visit was hailed as a success in Norway where she was praised for raising issues around climate change and international trade. But immigration appeared not to have been on the agenda.

Christian Tybring Gjedde, the Progress Party's head of foreign policy, said Trump was stating that "citizens of other countries are not as nice as Norwegians."

"I would never express myself in that way, but it is flattering that he wants more of us in the country," he said, adding: "Asylum seekers are expensive and a challenge to the culture."

National Norwegian broadcaster TV2 went to the streets in Oslo on Friday, asking people if they wanted to move to the U.S. None said they wanted to leave.

"Absolutely not," one unidentified man said. And an unnamed woman added: "If they get a new president."

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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Norwegians have national health care. Americans, regardless of origin, don't and their prospects are declining. Perhaps, Americans should emigrate to Norway?

I know it's on my short-list, as far as "exit strategies" go.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

From Wikipedia:

Main article: Politics of Norway

Transparency International: Corruption Perceptions Index 2014, ranked 5 out of 182.[11]

Reporters Without Borders: Press Freedom Index 2011/2012, ranked 1 out of 179 countries[12]

Economist Intelligence Unit: Democracy Index 2015, ranked 1 out of 167; score of 9.93[13]

Electoral process and pluralism: ranked 1 out of 167; score of 10.00A

Functioning of government: ranked 1 out of 167; score of 9.64

Political participation: ranked 1 out of 167; score of 10.00

Democratic political culture: ranked 1 out of 167; score of 10.00B

Civil liberties: ranked 1 out of 167; score of 10.00C

Transparency International: Global Corruption Barometer 2013, ranked 6 out of 95; score of 3[14] (3% of people bribed an official in 2013)

Democracy Ranking 2015, ranked 1 out of 113; score of 88.1[15]

World Justice Project: Rule of Law Index 2014, ranked 1 out of 113; score of 0.88 (out of 1)[16]

Fund for Peace: Fragile States Index 2016, ranked 177 out of 178 (least fragile); score of 18.8 (out of 120)[17]

Life Quality of Norway [edit]

United Nations Development Programme: 2015 Human Development Index, ranked 1 out of 188 countries[1]

United Nations Development Programme: 2015 Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, ranked 1 out of 150 countries[2]

The Economist: 2013 Where-to-be-born Index: ranked 3 out of 80 countries[3]

United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network: 2015 World Happiness Report, ranked 5 out of 85 countries[4]

Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress: 2015 OECD Better Life Index, ranked 3 out of 36 countries[5]

The Legatum Institute: 2015 Legatum Prosperity Index, ranked 1 out of 142 countries[6]

Economy[edit]

Main article: Economy of Norway

The Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation: Index of Economic Freedom 2015, ranked 27 out of 179 countries[7]

World Bank: Ease of Doing Business Index 2015, ranked 9 out of 183 countries[8]

Fraser Institute: Economic Freedom of the World 2015, ranked 27 out of 157[9]

Size of Government: ranked 132 out of 157; score of 5.0

Legal System and Property Rights: ranked 3 out of 157; score of 8.6

Sound Money: ranked 37 out of 157; score of 9.4

Freedom to Trade Internationally: ranked 77 out of 157; score of 7.3

Regulation: ranked 70 out of 157; score of 7.2

Credit market regulations: ranked 1 out of 157; score of 10.0

Labor market regulations: ranked 145 out of 157; score of 4.4

Business regulations: ranked 22 out of 157; score of 7.2

World Economic Forum: Global Enabling Trade Report 2014, ranked 12 out of 138; score of 5.1 (out of 7)[10]

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow, this article is timely for me! I was just talking to my Norwegian colleague yesterday, and his words were 'Trump is talking out his a$$.

Now this article comes out. I've got to call him.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What did Trump say that would be considered derogatory at all towards Norway? Everybody is jumping on the bandwagon pointing out how great Norway is as if Trump was in some way slandering them by saying how great he thinks they are.

@stranger

When your friend said "Trump is talking out his a$$" was he referring to Trump's praise of Norway and the Norwegian people?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"Asylum seekers are expensive and a challenge to the culture."

That's what President Trump said, just is a less polite way.

I bet 75% of the countries in the world would prefer their current country over the USA. Perhaps 85%. That still leaves a few places where the USA would be preferred.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That's what President Trump said, just is a less polite way. 

I bet 75% of the countries in the world would prefer their current country over the USA.

Yes as well as our money to go with that. Kind of a win, win situation for them.

Perhaps 85%. That still leaves a few places where the USA would be preferred.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/top-25-destinations-international-migrants

Yeah, about that.....

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Norway is an an amazing place to visit. Expensive but the scenery, the culture, the food is just wow.

I recommend the Lofoten Islands if you want to get away from it all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think Sweden is better, they have better food and better music.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If only this were really true; if only there wasn't a giant trail of people standing on line to get into the US, if only they were trying to get to Norway in droves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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