At least we’re Number 1 at something! Countries that rank highest in good and not so good categories.

Topping the rankings can make a country proud – depending on the category, of course.

Ranking the highest in some categories can often lead to patriotic chest-beating. Biggest salaries, highest literacy rates, most active in the bedroom and so on. On the other hand, being numero uno isn’t necessarily brag-worthy if it’s relating to car jackings, selfie stick users per capita or butt implants.

Either way, at least you’re getting some attention if you can crack the top position.

Here are some of the more notable leaders in their respective categories.

Countries that work the longest hours

1: Mexico (47 per week)

2: South Korea (46 per week)

3: Colombia (45 per week)

Bear in mind these are the longest hours, not necessarily the hardest-working hours. Workers in these countries might be Instagramming on the toilet for 25 hours a week, but unlikely. South Korea boasts a robust, thriving economy and Mexico’s GDP per capita has been rising steadily for the past decade.

Sure, there are plenty in the world who work – or at least turn up for work – for far longer than 47 hours. And good for them. Just as there are those who clock in for far less time, (more of them soon.)

The global weekly average is around 42 hours, so let’s give Mexico its time in the sun.

Countries that work the shortest hours

1: Netherlands (36 per week)

2: Denmark (37 per week)

3: Belgium (38 per week)

And the winner is…Western Europe. 15 of the 16 countries with the shortest working weeks are in either western or northern Europe. What they do in their free time is completely up to them and whatever it is seems to be working. All have relatively high employment rates (Netherlands is around 76%), stable economies and are progressive societies.

Maybe the Mexicos and South Koreas of the world can take note – don’t overdo it. Take a chill pill and smell the roses, man.

Countries that drink the most coffee (per capita)

1: Finland (9kg per person / year)

2: Norway (7kg per person / year)

3: Netherlands (6.5kg per person / year)

Whether it’s to coast through the working day on a crazed caffeine high or to simply help alleviate hangover horrors, the Scandinavians love the black stuff.

In Finland the average person drinks at least 1,000 cups a year. Considering children probably aren’t drinking it, that means the number is around 4-5 cups per day for adults.

It works – sorry, again with the boring GDPs – but life is good in these countries.


As for Colombia and Brazil? Way down the list. Probably sick of the sight of it. Just because they make the stuff doesn’t mean they have to drink it.

Countries with the highest-paid teachers

1: South Korea ($85K / year)

2: Switzerland ($84K / year)

3: Ireland ($70K / year)

The tired old joke about “those who can’t do – teach” would be met with horror in South Korea or Switzerland. Believe it or not, teaching is a serious profession in some countries. Most Western European and East Asian countries wisely regard a sound education as an investment for the future. Teachers are paid accordingly.

It comes as no surprise that the same countries continually top world rankings in math and science while their economies are sound. Maybe “those who can’t teach – have to do something else” is more apt.

The lowest ranked countries include the Czech Republic which forks out a measly $22K salary to its hapless teachers.

Managing overcrowded classrooms while dealing with obnoxious brats and their parents for $22K or removing asbestos piles for $24K? Where’s my respirator and when do I start?

Countries that eat the most calories

1: Austria (3800 calories / day – or 11 Big Macs)

2: United States (3750 calories / day)

3: Greece (3710 / day)

How can Austrians possibly eat more calories a day than the land that gave us the

Triple Whopper Bacon Cheeseburger Meal?

One word – desserts. It seems the Austrians are crazy about them. If you’re wolfing down an apple strudel after a nice 700 calorie schnitzel a few nights a week, the fat content does add up. But not their belt sizes, surprisingly.

Austrians have nowhere near the obesity levels of some other countries which means they either cycle whilst eating chocolate cake or find plenty of time for vigorous exercise in between stuffing their faces. The perfect crime.

Countries with the most plastic surgery (per capita)

1: South Korea

2: Brazil

3: USA

We know that South Korean teachers have the salaries to get new lips, so why not? The home of suspiciously perfect-looking K-pop stars has more cosmetic procedures per capita than anyone. Most of it is facial – eyes, noses, lips. It seems that after working their arses off for the past 50 years, South Koreans have literally had a good look in the mirror and thought, I deserve more

Skin-whitening is another popular procedure. Porcelain skin is a symbol of beauty in East Asian cultures, perhaps alluding to the idea that pale skin indicates wealth and not having to work outdoors. The shame.

Brazil admirably brings up second place with more emphasis on the body. Big, beautiful butts and boobs while pec implants for men are quite a thing. Pec implants? All good until someone asks you to do 5 pushups and you can’t.

Countries with most male nurses

1: Saudi Arabia (35% of total nurses)

2: Kenya (25% of total nurses)

3: Israel (20% of total nurses)

Perhaps a few surprises here, but not really when you think about it. Because of Saudi women’s limited educational and job opportunities, many jobs are taken by men. In fact most of the female nurses in Saudi Arabia are from overseas – Malaysia, India and the Philippines. This is likely to change as more and more Saudi women are entering the workforce – up to around 68% of women are in some kind of employment.

As for Kenya and Israel, it seems to be more about men opting for nursing as a stable and satisfying career choice.

Brothers, doin it for themselves…

Countries that drink the most alcohol (per capita)

1: Belarus (17 liters per person / year)

2: Lithuania (15 liters per person / year)

3: Russia (14 liters per person / year)

And you thought you knew some big drinkers. Amateurs compared to this lot.

The average person in Belarus necks about 24 bottles of vodka or whatever per year. That’s the big bottles we’re talking about, the 700ml stuff. And by person,we mean those over the age of…let’s make it 15. Which means far more alcohol for some.

The thing with these stats is most people play down how much they drink so what the real numbers are we can only imagine.

Mind you, in Eastern Europe they’re too blotto to care.

Countries with the longest life expectancies

Hong Kong: (84)

Japan: (83.5)

Switzerland: (83)

Eighty is the new sixty in these countries. Japan will be miffed about being knocked off the top spot after so long, but they’ll get over it because they’re too happy living long lives.

All countries with long life expectancies share the same qualities.

Healthy diets with plenty of vegetables, fruit and nuts eaten in smaller portions. Lots of regular exercise plus living with the extended family instead of a retirement home has been shown to improve quality of life.

Oh, and excellent, affordable universal healthcare systems don’t hurt either.

Countries that sleep around the most

1: Turkey (14 partners)

2: New Zealand (13 partners)

3: Australia (12 partners)

Turks will be too busy undressing each other to read this but these countries have enjoyed plenty of horizontal hijinks. The global average is apparently 9, which may seem incredibly small or large, depending on who you hang around with.

Like alcohol, this data is tenuous at best. Many males exaggerate the number of partners they’ve had, while females are more likely to give a lower than actual figure.

And everyone will tweak their numbers to whatever the listener at the time wants to hear. Or is willing to believe.

“How many people have you slept with?”
“About 10…”

“Only 10?”
“Oh, I meant this year – 10. In my life, who knows…70, 80?”


So there we have it, congratulations to the winners. Don’t despair if your country isn’t in the top 3 – simply start working, eating, drinking and/or sleeping around more. You’re bound to get there in the end.



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