Updated: Mar 25
Nordic countries are sustainable, high-tech, environmentalist and inclusive. Gen Z loves them for it.
Scandinavia has always been a stronghold of popularity amongst the youth. This is due to the region’s public and private sector emphasis on the next generation, mature technological infrastructure, cultural inclusivity and equality, sustainability and environmentalism, and overall liberalism. When it comes to choosing a location to live, Gen Z is incredibly drawn to the Nordic region.
Let’s start off by exploring how Scandinavia focuses on its youth. For those of you familiar with the UN’s movements, you may have crossed paths with the UN Climate Change Conference and #Generation2030 campaign. “The Nordic Council of Ministers, comprising Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands, held Nordic Youth Day during the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 23). During the Day, which took place on 6 November, the governments held the launch of #Generation2030, a joint programme for implementing the 2030 Agenda that emphasizes the involvement of children and young people as agents of change. The programme will provide analysis and methodology development, while supporting the involvement of Nordic civil society organisations, the private sector, Nordic research networks, and youth organisations in 2030 Agenda efforts in the Nordic Region.” It is clear that Scandinavian countries heavily focus on children. Indeed, the WEF came out with an article in the recent past on why Nordic nations are amongst the best places on the planet to have and raise kids.
For example, since the 1930s in Finland, new mothers have received a Maternity Package from the government that is replete with 64 items geared towards helping moms raise their infants in the early stages. On top of Finland, Sweden is one of the friendliest countries for maternal leave in the world. Parents are able to secure 16 months of leave with their baby, all the while retaining 80% of their salary for the first year. Not only that, but in Sweden, the government distributes a monthly Child Allowance of SEK 1,050 ($113) per child, which can be used towards preschool costs. Lastly, in Denmark, Childcare costs are no more than DKK 3,900 ($590) per month, and according to the article, in Norway, “Norwegian parents are entitled to a flat-rate child benefit allowance of NOK 1,054 ($123), per child per month, which is doubled for lone parents. Kindergartens are open for up to 10 hours per day and charge a maximum fee of NOK 2,500 ($290) per month.”
Now that we’ve covered the friendly child-raising climate in the Nordic countries, let’s talk about something else Gen Z cares about: internet speeds. The Nordics rank amongst top nations in the world for fast internet speeds, as can be seen in the diagram below by fastmerics. Moreover, according to Swedish Nomad, “You can easily get speeds of up to 500 Mpbs in Sweden, and the internet provider Bahnhof offers 10 Gbit/s (10 000 Mbps), which is probably the fastest internet in the world for home connections,” and “Most of the country’s citizens are connected daily to the internet and the Danes can enjoy internet speeds on average up to 49.19 Mbps, ranking it in fifth place by the fastest internet in the world. “ In addition to fast roaming capabilities, sustainability and environmentalism also ranks among top concerns for Gen Z. Given the SDG-forward approach of the Nordics, it should come as no surprise why the next generation is flocking to these regions. For example, when I spent some time in Iceland, I had never seen so many young people in one city like in Reykjavik. When asking young locals why they loved living in Iceland, almost always the top response was the environmentalism of the nation and how pollution-free it is. It just so happens to be that Iceland is the only developed nation today with approximately 100% of its energy production and 82–87% of its primary energy coming from renewable energy sources, as per Stanford. The rest of the Nordic nations are also large proponents of environmentalism, with Denmark pledging $1.6B to climate demands and Norway’s $1.2T wealth fund testing the business models of the country’s largest CO2 emitters. Lastly, equality and inclusivity are also reasons why Gen Z loves Scandinavia. The Nordic region is unquestionably the most gender-equal in the world. According to the OECD, “In Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, increases in women’s employment accounted for about 10–20% of GDP per capita growth over the past 40–50 years.” Moreover, due to strong governmental institutions, “The Nordic policy approach has helped deliver and sustain large improvements in gender labour equality over recent decades.” Also, organizations like the Nordic Council of Ministers for Gender Equality and LGBTI (MR-JÄM) are reasons why Scandinvia is leading in inclusivity. Not only is it a strong policy-making mechanism, but the Council comes with a strong funding arm as well. “The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Gender Equality Fund and the Nordic LGBTI Fund awards funding to projects in which at least three organisations, from at least three Nordic countries, work together to promote gender equality and work for equal rights, treatment and opportunities for LGBTI people in the Nordic countries. Thanks to this co-operation, knowledge is growing and being shared across borders. We are finding common solutions and learning from each other. Since 2013, some 60 projects have been funded by the Nordic Gender Equality Fund. The Nordic LGBTI Fund will be issuing a call for proposals for the first time in autumn 2021.” To conclude, the culture of sustainability, inclusivity, mature tech infrastructure and environmentalism, are all reasons why Gen Z is so drawn to the Nordic region.