Holidays: Trivia

Most people have to work most of the time. In fact, for more than three-quarters of the year, at least 98% of the world is at work. But all workweeks are not created equal, and the number of holidays workers receive depends on… where they live.

Highest
 
Lowest
 Country No. of holidays    Country No. of holidays
 1. Nepal 23.0    1. Bosnia 2.7
 2. India 21.8    2. Mongolia 6.2
 3. Iran 20.9    3. Uzbekistan 6.3
 4. Myanmar 19.2    4. Serbia 6.6
 5. Sri Lanka 18.2    5. Cuba 6.7

Note: This table shows the number of holidays that fall during the week; holidays that coincide with a weekend are ignored. In making these and all other calculations on this page, we have used bank holidays over the next 32 years in the principal financial center as a proxy for holidays in the country as a whole. This is obviously a simplistic assumption, since it ignores the effect of regional holidays, disparities between industries and local quirks in the banking system. The sample from which this table is drawn consists of approximately 170 countries, namely those for which we publish holidays.

As a benchmark for comparison among the major financial centers, the US has an average of 9.1 holidays per annum, while the UK has 7.8 and Japan 15.2.

These averages can disguise some very significant volatility. For example, people in Morocco can enjoy anywhere from five to 17 holidays per year, while in Jordan the range is nine to 17. While these are extreme examples (caused in part by the fact that Muslim holidays can occur twice in some years), the number of holidays varies from year to year in virtually every country.
Year-To-Year Variations
You might think that when averaged across the entire globe, the number of holidays would be pretty much the same from one year to the next. In fact, there are significant year-to-year variations. On average over the next 32 years, each center has 11.4 holidays per annum. However, this average disguises some significant variations, with a low of 10.5 days in 2038 and a high of 12.3 in 2014.

This gives rise to an interesting economic question: Should GNP be higher in years when there are more working days? Not being economists, we are not qualified to answer that question. However, we can point out that the effect is very significant in some years. For example, in 2032 there will be 0.9% more working days than in 2031 (see chart below).



January, 2010