All entries for Friday 23 March 2007

March 23, 2007

Social Cohesion Indicators

Writing about web page http://www.oecd.org/document/24/0,2340,en_33873108_33873626_2671576_1_1_1_1,00.html

OECD logoI’m a sociologist, ergo I like social statistics, the more specific the better.

I often find social statistics, especially in strict comparison to other coutries, so culturally telling. Everybody thinks the Dutch are such limitless drug abusers, but I’ve always objected to that view. What does the OECD report (2006) tell us? Drug-related deaths in Holland are among the fewest in the 23 OECD-countries. In 2001, only France had a lower number, from a statistic of 16 polled countries.

Another stereotype is that of the “red light district Dutch”. Nonetheless, it appears Dutch youngster either wait longer or watch out better, with a 2002 fertility rate of 7.7% (among 15-19 year olds). Compare that to the UK (last measured in 1999, 28.6%) or the US (2002, 43%). From my side I have always said that Dutch sexual libertarianism isn’t as adventurous as people think. Sorry if that disappoints you.

I also had to smile to see the Dutch are twice as often members of sports groups, and thrice as often of political groups, as the Germans. We’re quite associative, just like Anglo Saxons. And totally opposed to Medditerrean Europeans and Slavonic Europeans. Turks totally beat the record: they are practically never member of any club and only 1.5% of respondents claim ever to do upaid work for any kind of group.

And the last figure put a smile on my face: the Dutch are the happiest of all OECD peoples with an average happiness rate (7 or over on a scale of 10, “very happy” or “quite happy”) of 92.4%. Beat that you Nordics!


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