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'Sweden world's most expensive country': index

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'Sweden world's most expensive country': index
16:56 CET+01:00
Sweden's status as a country with high quality living standards for its residents has been questioned in a newly published index, which claims it is the most costly country in the world to live in.

Branded as a country where quality of life is key, Sweden often ranks among the top ten in country ratings which take both living costs and benefits into consideration. For the last two years Sweden has been placed 7th in the UN Human Development Index.

However, the recently released Quality of Life index 2010 by International Living magazine puts Sweden's reputation as an oasis of fine living into doubt, placing it in 30th place out of the 200 countries listed.

The magazine gave Sweden a score of 0 in the cost of living category, the only country which received no points in the list.

The Local contacted International Living's offices in the US for an explanation.

"The result is due to the fact that Sweden has the highest cost of living and is the most expensive country in the world," said spokesperson Suzan Haskins.

The figure, which contributes 15 percent of the final score, brought down the country's average and lowered its place on the list considerably.

In comparison with its Nordic neighbours, Denmark was awarded a cost of living score of 33, with Finland and Norway both receiving 39. All three countries were placed above Sweden in the final index, which was topped by France.

According to information from the International Living website the figure relates to: "a guide to how much it will cost you to live in a style comparable to—or better than—the standard of living you're likely enjoying in the U.S."

"Our primary source in this category is the U.S. State Department's Index of Overseas Living Costs, used to compute cost-of-living allowances for a Western-style of living in various countries. We also consider each country's income tax rates."

Last year Sweden's cost of living figure in the same index was 37.

"I've talked to the editor who compiled the results and it is not a mistake," said Haskins.

Haskins added that the company collects their data from government sources, economists and the World Bank.

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