The magazine rated all 290 Swedish municipalities based on factors ranging from unemployment to teacher-pupil ratios, property prices number of people on benefits and tax rates.
The worst place to live according to the survey is Munkfors, a small industrial community in Värmland, 350 kilometres west of Stockholm.
Munkfors has the smallest proportion of students qualified to go to upper secondary (gymnasie) school of any municipality in Sweden. It also has the ninth highest divorce rate in the country and the seventh highest suicide rate. Its inhabitants were also among the most likely to be unemployed or living on sick benefits, and fifteenth most likely to die of alcohol-related causes.
But Munkfors’s mayor, Hector Vallejos, said he was not downhearted following the survey, although he admitted it was not the result he would have liked.
“I don’t take it seriously. Just under 4,000 people live here. They are neither more nor less happy than people living in Stockholm,” the Social Democrat mayor told news agency TT.
Vallejos also questioned the survey’s choice of criteria, saying that too many of them were based on economic factors.
Economic factors had indeed worked against Munkfors: there are fewer millionaires per head of population in Munkfors than in almost any other place in Sweden. Only two areas are home to fewer rich people. The local taxes, however, are the 44th highest in Sweden.
Not that it was all bad news for Munkfors: housing in the municipality is among the cheapest in Sweden. Only 13 places have more expensive homes, calculated on houses’ taxation values.
The contrast with Lund is enormous. The university and cathedral town near Malmö in the far south of the country has Sweden’s second lowest proportion of people with low levels of education.
Lund also has the third lowest level of sick leave and is well down the divorce league, 73 from bottom. The town had the 26th highest proportion of millionaires and the 20th highest net wealth. Living there doesn’t come cheap, however. House prices in Lund were 27th highest in Sweden.
Lund has in common with many other municipalities at the top of the list that it is close to one of Sweden’s large cities. Second placed was Lomma, only 11 kilometres from Lund. Stockholm neighbours Lidingö and Danderyd, and Kungsbacka near Gothenburg were also in the top ten. Stockholm itself was sixteenth, Gothenburg 136th and Malmö 164th.