Welfare States 2021

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A welfare state is one where the government plays a critical role in protecting and promoting its citizens' economic and social welfare. It’s based on the principle of equitable wealth distribution, public responsibility, and equality of opportunity for those who don't have minimal provision for a good life. While this is the primary meaning, countries adopt different ideologies when defining welfare states. Here are three of them:

An ideal model

Countries adopting this ideology believe that a welfare state represents a perfect model of provision where the government accepts the responsibility of providing comprehensive and universal welfare for the citizens.

Social protection

Countries in Western Europe use this approach when defining welfare. According to them, welfare isn't the responsibility of the government only, but independent and autonomous public services too.

State welfare

This definition is as simple as welfare provided by the state and is often adopted in the USA.

History of Welfare States

The U.S. and the U.K. are credited with introducing the modern meaning of welfare states. In the U.K., for example, the definition was based on the Beveridge Report, which advocated for the government to provide services once provided by trade unions, charities, and the church.

The government has since adopted this system and continues to do it even today, despite the frequent restructuring and adjustments to keep it relevant.

In the U.S., the term welfare culminated in the Great Depression, which caused job loss and misery for millions. The concept was a solution to the disparities between communists and capitalists.

Welfare States

Countries that use the welfare state concept include:

The United Kingdom: The government uses the institutional model of welfare which is based on three principal elements- provision of services, social protection in case of insecurity, and a guarantee of minimum standards like minimum income

France: Its welfare ideology is greatly influenced by the principle of national solidarity, which is used differently. At first, the idea refers to having cooperation and mutual support, responsibility and shared risks. However, the French system of welfare seems to take on a different turn by focusing on four groups of people in society -- the elderly, the sick/incapacitated, families, and the unemployed.

Sweden: The country provides the most basic needs to all its citizens and shows significant commitment to social equality

Other Welfare States Include:

  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Austria
  • Greece
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Iceland
  • Kuwait
  • Israel
  • Slovenia
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Israel
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • United States

Welfare States 2021

Country 2021 Population
United States332,915,073
Japan126,050,804
Germany83,900,473
United Kingdom68,207,116
France65,426,179
Italy60,367,477
South Korea51,305,186
Spain46,745,216
Canada38,067,903
Australia25,788,215
Netherlands17,173,099
Belgium11,632,326
Greece10,370,744
Portugal10,167,925
Sweden10,160,169
Austria9,043,070
Israel8,789,774
Switzerland8,715,494
Denmark5,813,298
Finland5,548,360
New Zealand4,860,643
Kuwait4,328,550
Slovenia2,078,724
Latvia1,866,942
Estonia1,325,185
Iceland343,353

Welfare States 2021