Is there a link between a country’s wealth and its number of metal bands?

May 30, 2014
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A recent study published by City Lab and the Martin Prosperity Institute points out that heavy metal holds less sway in its postindustrial origin regions but remains highly popular in Scandinavian countries, which are known for their wealth and very high quality of life.

“What we found is that that the number of heavy metal bands in a given country is associated with its wealth and affluence.”

The report shows an interesting correlation between a country’s economic status and its number of metal groups and is based on a 2012 map (seen below) that tracked the number of metal bands per 100,000 residents. The study found that the genre is les popular in places like the U.S. and the U.K. (where it was essentially created and served as an anthem of the working class) and is more popular in areas like Northern Europe (Germany), Scandinavia and Canada.

The study’s author, Richard Florida, states: At the country-level, the number of heavy metal bands per capita is positively associated with economic output per capita (.71); level of creativity (.71) and entrepreneurship (.66); share of adults that hold college degrees (.68); as well as overall levels of human development (.79), well-being, and satisfaction with life (.60).  

The study concludes by pointing out that despite the fact metal may be the music of choice for some “alienated working-class males,” it enjoys peak popularity in the most advanced, tolerant and intellectual places in the world.

Read the full report on City Lab.

Written by Matt Crane