Comparing the United States to the World: Part 2 of 2

I thought for sure the United State would do well if I compared annual median and/or average wages to other countries.

I found my answer at Index that compared “GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population”. I have no idea what that means, but the United States was ranked # 12 on that list compared to 226 countries. At least the U.S. was in the top 5.3%, but it wasn’t number one.

Then I thought if the United States has the biggest GDP in the world, it has to be number one in annual GDP growth. I found that list at Trading There were fifty countries on that list and the U.S. was # 49. Only Venezuela was ranked lower.

Desperate to find a list where the United States was number one, I turned to a comparison of global defense budgets.  Yea! The United States was number one.  The U.S. spent more money on its military budget than the next nine countries on the list combined. Source: Peter G. Peterson

What about the private-sector arms industry? I was convinced that the U.S. would be number one on that list too, and I was right! The private sector in the United States sells more weapons to other countries than any other country on the Earth. In 2011, the US controlled 44% of that sector. Number two was Russia with 17%. France was in third place with 8%. Source: Global

Next: comparing obesity by country. Nation reported that the United States was number one with 30.6% of its population obese. Mexico was in second place with 24.2%. But the CDC says—with up-to-date figures—that 35.9% of Americans are obese and 69.2% are overweight [fat]. Who should we believe and does it matter because the U.S. would still be # 1?

Corruption Perception Index: How does the United States compare on this list? To find the answer click on where you will discover the ranking of 178 countries.

The next list is one that I knew the United States would win before I even Googled it. The Population Reference Bureau reported that the U.S. had the world’s highest incarceration rate [prison population].

“Since 2002, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world. Although prison populations are increasing in some parts of the world, the natural rate of incarceration for countries comparable to the United States tends to stay around 100 prisoners per 100,000 population. The U.S. rate is 500 prisoners per 100,000 residents, or about 1.6 million prisoners in 2010, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

“Incarceration rates are significantly higher for blacks and Latinos than for whites. In 2010, black men were incarcerated at a rate of 3,074 per 100,000 residents; Latinos were incarcerated at 1,258 per 100,000, and white men were incarcerated at 459 per 100,000.”

On another list, CBS News reported that despite tough anti-drug laws, a new survey shows the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world. This also helps explain why so many [free] Americans are locked up in prisons and jails. In fact, the United States is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine, Colombian heroin, and Mexican heroin and marijuana. Source: Nation

The last list I Googled revealed that the United States bares all and made at least two #1 lists for pornography.

First, the United States was the top video pornography producing country in the world. Second place goes to Brazil.

Second, the United States produced the largest number of pornographic Web pages on the Internet with more than 244 million Web pages with pornographic material. Germany was in second place with 10 million pornographic Web pages. Source:

Can anyone think of another category where the United States would be number one—one that’s more positive than obesity, people in prison, guns, drugs and porno? After all, the United States of America is the greatest country on the planet, and I’m proud to be an American.

Return to or start with Comparing the United States to the World: Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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