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'Sweden world's most expensive country': index

Christine Demsteader · 8 Jan 2010, 16:56

Published: 08 Jan 2010 16:56 GMT+01:00

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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."

Story continues below…

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.

Related links:

Christine Demsteader (christine.demsteader@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:35 January 8, 2010 by Nemesis
Brilliant sources of information, the world bank, economics and government agencies. No wonder the USA is such a mess. Thats like asking a rapist for a reference for one of his victims.

Who ever compiled the data for that list has obviously never been outside the United States and watches way to much fox news.

Some suggestions to all americans who want to know about outside the USA.

Apply for a passport.

Once the passport arrives, book a thing called a flight to another country.

Visit that country without looking for a fox news opinion regarding the country.

Maybe then you not only would get a more accurate opinion, but one or two of you might even open your minds a bit.

Bloody idiots.
19:04 January 8, 2010 by craicen
This is spot on. The amount of money required for a high quality of life; going out to eat, to pubs, on vacations, and doing just about anything besides sitting at home wasting away; is well above what it what cost to do these things in other Western countries if you factor in the actual take home pay that Swedes have. Sweden is for all but the elite a third world country in reguards to lifestyle for the majority. Hell even in third world countries the average person can enjoy more of the simple pleasures of life that are regulated out of reach in Sweden.
19:04 January 8, 2010 by Keith #5083
Clearly the 'research' persons for this article did not wish to buy a house, purchase bensin, eat pizza or a few incidental things like that. Equally, health costs were,presumably, not factored in to the equation - as they have not been for 40+million american citizens!

I find it amazing that a young American visitor to us just 4 years ago (a student) totally could not believe the minimum normal wage her for building site labourers. He thought himself extremely lucky if he could get $5 an hour.

I would also be interested to see the comments of any Norwegians writing here. To suggest to folk from Oslo that Swedish food,alcohol,tobacco,bensin,property,health care cost contibutions, child care...etc.etc.etc. is more expensive than Norway is beyond laughable.
19:06 January 8, 2010 by Uncle
Nemesis - you again overdosed yourself with the Che Guevara a la Qaddafi cocktail? You gotta stop drinking that crap.

It is possible to calculate the buying power of an average citizen of a country while being the most powerful economy in the world! Can you imagine? In SPITE that the US is so evil, it can ACTUALLY calculate economical situation of others! Actually they are the best in the world at doing it. Especially if the entire West in the form of the World Bank is supporting the research.

Because you see, everyone would listen to Sudan IF Sudan would issue such an index, but Sudan is a bit busy producing machetes for internal use. Of course if Iran would make a living cost estimates, we would look into it, but it does not. It is slightly overworked with all of these cute demonstrations of thousands and raping thousands in prisons...

So unfortunately we must listen to the Big Devil that actually HAS the tools to issue such an estimate... Hopefully North Korea will issue a TRUE report soon...

Bloody idiot.
19:07 January 8, 2010 by krigeren
What has always fueled the Swedish system are high levels of exports and low unemployment. A fair share of industry and the attached exports have left. Unemployment is so high, and the society so embarrassed about it, they lie about actual figures (counting those who are unemployed but seeking work as employed). Therefore, the fuel that feeds the socialist system is just not there hence, many of its appendages exist its just the supply or resources to them has dwindled.

I talk to Swedes all the time who would agree with the system here crumbling. The system peaked in about 1975. Until then there was a great relationship between a small handfull of industrialists and the government. The government was good at doing what governments do (building roads for example) so the industrialists could put their products on trucks to ship out.

However, there has been a disconnect. For example, in the early 1990's a new wave of "industrialists" knowledge workers pushed the government to lay down fiber across the whole country. With that infrastructure Sweden would have had great tech advantages in IT. The government did not do it. Examples such as this abound.

The politicians don't really have the answers. They are still mired in ideas from the 1930's of "liberal", "conservative", "socialist" thinking which only offer dogmatic fairy tale solutions to real world issues that require a practical approach. In fact, the Socialists still say make government bigger to make more jobs but they forget its exports that pay for those jobs....really sad....Sweden used to be an industrial powerhouse and a great nation...the politicians are still stuck in old ways of thinking and need to adapt to change so the people stop suffering....from lack of opportunity and possibilities.
19:26 January 8, 2010 by entry
There is clearly an error. Sweden should push for a correction. The US State Department Cost of Living Adjustment index(COLA) shows pretty much what you would expect for Sweden.

Here are the US State Department COLA PDFs:

COLA Index Jan 2009

COLA Index Jan 2010

This is just a simple data entry mistake.
20:00 January 8, 2010 by Regor
Nemesis, you should check your sources before you come up with your conclusions! Try international living.com and do an unbiased survey of whom their reporters are AND WHERE THEY LIVE. I have been reading their web site and their mailings on and off for a number of years and i have found that their articles and information packages are a lot more believable and accurate then what you can glean from local Chambers of Commerce or other national information sources.

Being a natural born Swede, living overseas and visiting often over the last 50 years, there is no doubt that Sweden is one of the most expensive places to visit. Years ago I sat down with my brother-in-law and tried to figure out the differences in living cost between USA and Sweden. Things like the socialized medicine, schooling cost, house and property taxes, local, state and federal taxes, etc., were included -- and that messed up any and all attempts of coming up with a true value! Consencus was that visiting and short time living was considerably higher in Sweden and it probably goes without saying that the Swedish taxes were considerably higher. Looking at personal income tax alone came up with a number that indicated that I would pay a bit more than double my US taxes in Sweden, based not on exchange rates, but on actual cost of living for a month in each country.
20:02 January 8, 2010 by jag2009
In my opinion I don't agree with this.

Sweden's property is cheaper to buy than most european countries. Sweden has a free education system where as the UK for example pay £3000 a year in tuition fees. London is more expensive than Stockholm, with a population of sweden (near enough).

Poor research... Another crap article.... one minute the best place is to live in France then it will be Australia, its just crap. But you can't tell me Stockholm is more expensive to live that any of the big counties/towns of london.
20:08 January 8, 2010 by Renfeh Hguh

You fool.... it is much better that they have no passport and travel to Las Vegas if they want to see "the world"

The "zero" is clearly a load of bullcrap. There might be credibility to the figure if there were countries like Norway in single digits or in the teens, but there is no one else even close.
20:30 January 8, 2010 by Mb 65
London is much cheaper than Stockholm. House prices are higher in England but that is all. When my friends and relations visit me in the summer they cannot believe the prices here. Just before Christmas i bought a Philips electric razor in London and it was 1300kr cheaper plus i got £10 off my next purchase. With the money i saved on just books and the razor paid for 2 nights in a 5 star hotel.
20:40 January 8, 2010 by slickscott
I am too lazy to read all the comments but why IS sweden expensive to live in????? Of all the countries in the world why would this place be expensive????? Tell me? Does this country have neat places to see? Nice sturdy houses that are overlooking beautiful scenery? How are Swedes able to live in such an expensive country??? What skills do they have? I keep hearing that these people continually score low on Science and Math tests??? So I dont know how this small cold azz country can be expensive to live in!!!!!!!!!!
21:16 January 8, 2010 by Kaethar
Thanks to all of the expats for getting offended on our behalf. :D But it's not necessary. Why should we care what some American magazine thinks of us? We only care about international rankings. ;)

It even said here:

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.

So basically this is a guide on how to live a extravagant American lifestyle in Sweden. Americans have the second largest ecological footprint in the world (after the UAE). If everyone lived like Americans we'd need more than 9 planets to sustain our lifestyle.

So thanks but no thanks. We don't want that kind of American in Sweden anyway. ;)
21:16 January 8, 2010 by StockholmSam
Nemesis, you rail against "bloody idiot" Americans and suggest we travel in order to open our minds. How ironic that you are the most prolific (and villified) poster on The Local, a newspaper written in English targeted at expats who are resistant to assimilating the local Swedish culture. Perhaps instead of wasting your life glued to the Local, reading every article and being the first to post, you should spend some time reading articles in Swedish and responding to those.

Bloody idiot.
21:27 January 8, 2010 by entry
LEGO® products were cheaper this summer in the USA than here in Sweden I had to check that out for my sister-in-law. You would think that a Danish product would be cheaper here in Sweden. H&M items were about the same as confirmed by the teenager.

Anyways as I stated in my above post the Cost of living Index that the article claims to use indicates that Sweden is not even close to the most expensive country.

US State Department COLA Index Jan 2010

21:44 January 8, 2010 by Alannah
It's true that Sweden is very expensive for doing anything like dining out, clubbing, excursions etc plus groceries etc are quite expensive compared to other EU countries like the UK and Germany, for example. However, I am amazed that Denmark, Norway and Finland scored higher than Sweden .... Copenhagen is horrifically expensive as is Oslo ...yesterday I paid SEK 50 for a coffee in downtown Copenhagen for a crappy cup of coffee and lousy service, then they charged an extra SEK 15 for a glass of tap water.

The only thing I can think of that raised their status on the survey is the fact that salaries are much higher in the other Nordic countries...they are really miserably low here in Sweden which makes everything seem so much more less-affordable as people have less money in their pockets each month.
21:47 January 8, 2010 by Munny
The prices of many consumable items are far more in Sweden than other EU countries. By shopping around on t'internet and even including the shipping costs is often a better option.

I bought a Phil & Teds pram in the UK for half the price of the exact same item in Sweden, children's toys are 40-60% cheaper in UK (I agree with entry, LEGO is extortionately priced here) and electrical items / watches are pretty similar. It's not the exchange rate that's making them cheaper either and it's not just items bought in the UK.

Then again, there are items which are far cheaper....swings and roundabouts!
22:01 January 8, 2010 by Atlas
Interesting enough, i was talking today with a friend of mine about the expensiveness of beer in Sweden. You see, we were in Malmo at a party at Amiralen, and the bottles of beer costs 50 SEK, around 36 DKK, the same bottle here (Carlsberg) in Copenhagen, is 25 DKK...

So, i wonder whether there is some truth in that report...
22:04 January 8, 2010 by CLiv
Bloody idiots, are we seriously having this discussion. If you didn't know that Sweden is an expensive country, I'm not sure what rock what you have been living under. Yes we pay high taxes etc. But you know what the rewards far out ways that. Free healthcare, inexpensive daycare, spending quality time with your family and more. I much rather live in a place that actually has compassion for others than a self centered country like America. Where all they think about is who ever has the most stuff when they die wins. Plus never having any quality time with your family because you work your ass off to reach this status that you believe is so important in life.

Bloody idiots.
22:21 January 8, 2010 by wxman
Get a grip, people. There is nothing in this world more expensive than that which is "free". It's the SOCIALISM folks! Get it through your collective heads. The money has to come from somewhere, ergo high prices for stuff. Sheeesh! This is so easy to understand, even a caveman could do it (apologies to GEICO).
22:38 January 8, 2010 by Investor612
Hey Nemesis,

I've got a passport. I've travelled abroad including Sweden and Finland. I also listen to FOX News rather than the hard left all the time bias of the other networks in the USA.

Everyday items, after doing the currency conversion, on average cost about 50% more in Sweden than they did in the US. There must be some hellacious VATs in Sweden.

There's a tradeoff between the two systems. My observation is that the bottom 20% of people by income are better off in Sweden than those in the US. The top 20% in both places has nothing to worry about so comparisons are kind of meaningless. But the middle 60%? I'm one of those people, right in the middle of the middle. I might have more to worry about than Swedes in that range, but I also live better. Americans in the middle are more likely to own their own home, have a bigger home, have more "toys" than their Swedish counterparts.

Is the tradeoff worth it? That's debateable and strong arguments can be made on either side. Would I trade? No.
22:57 January 8, 2010 by dsclimb
investor, you almost had a case until you mention fox news as a source!!

Sometime is not the cost of an item, a beer, a meal, a coffee that counts but the environment within which you enjoy it.

Say a beer or meal in a major UK city, might be slightly but not much cheaper than Sweden. However, you won't have paid a fortune in car parking or public transport to get there and you won't be surrounded by pissed youths ruining everyone else night. Sometimes it's worth the extra money and some qualities in life are beyond monetary value, but i doubt you will even grasp this if your under 35 or american. (sorry to any yanks who do).
23:32 January 8, 2010 by glamelixir
1 kg of tomatoes yesterday in Barcelona 0.99 euro a kilo, same type of tomatoes today in Stockholm 4 euro a kilo.
23:37 January 8, 2010 by jack sprat
If quality of life were judged by impressions and the looks on ppls faces, then Sweden would surely be bottom of the league.

With so many sad,miserable looking ppl.wandering around the place, with faces like a mile of bad road, you could be forgiven for thinking that Sweden is the most p!ss poor place on the planet.
23:38 January 8, 2010 by diegoveggie
i live and run a business in stockholm and i can certainly say it's expensive. but i also lived in nyc, and i was broke all the time.

i guess it's not easy anywhere..
00:27 January 9, 2010 by CatGirl
I agree, just the in past few years the prices for housing, food, health care, child care and taxes have skyrocketed. Salaries haven't really increased but stayed about the same. I think a lot of people are struggling. If you compare the standard of living that the 60's somethings had then YES obviously the standard of living has gone down over the years. My generation which is at the top of its working peak is still struggling to reach the same level as our parents had in Sweden or the USA.

I do think it is easier to have a higher standard of living in the USA then it is in Sweden. Higher salaries, lower taxes, cheaper products and services equal a higher standard of living by default. Duh!

The cradle to grave society is fast becoming the cradle that fell in the ditch society! C'mon Swedes start to complain about your standard of living to your government! Demand higher salaries and/or lower taxes, more competition between businesses and lower costs for food and clothing. Were is that Viking spirit?

Ebay, 2nd hand and discount stores are my best friends now! I no longer buy certain stuff in Sweden anymore because its just too expensive. I try to find many ways to make my kronor go further.

I hope the economy improves! The best of luck to you all!
00:32 January 9, 2010 by Beavis
Poor article, poor research. Sweden is expensive yes, but not by a long shot the most expensive country.

Take the cost of buying a house/apartment compared to Ireland.

Even though the Irish property prices have fallen 10% in the last year, on average like for like it is still up to 10 times cheaper in Sweden. Eg your average suburb 4 bed house in Stockholm is 2-3million kr. wheras the same in Ireland is 6-8millionkr

Yes everyday items are more expensive (as other countries have dropped their prices due to failing economies) But this is more to do with lack of competition.

Ica,Poop,Willys,even Lidl etc dont seem to compete head on to bring prices down. Theres no bully boy like Tesco there pushing the prices down.
00:41 January 9, 2010 by Kaethar
@Investor612: Yes, you can have more bling-bling as a middle-class person in the US. The question is really if it's worth it since since this means 20% of the population has to struggle to get by. I wouldn't want to live in such a society at all. "Living better" is subjective.
01:18 January 9, 2010 by xenyasai
Either the numbers are wrong or something has drastically changed the last three years in Sweden.

I lived in Sweden between 2005 and 2007. I moved there from Norway. I had a lower wage in Sweden, but I had much more money left after spending it on all the essential things. I had more money to spend and save than I had in Norway.

I suggest they check their numbers again and, to maybe be a bit wild, use Swedish sources.

If you were to move to Australia, would you ask someone from UK for advice or an Aussie? Just saying.
01:53 January 9, 2010 by Mack
Clearly the study is wrong and the authors don't want to admit it. Sweden is expensive but hardly the most expensive in the world.
02:25 January 9, 2010 by Investor612

That's a fair point.

The trade-off is, lower income Americans have more to worry about and a harder struggle. But they also have more to aspire to and better opportunity to improve their lives.

I wouldn't trade for the Swedish system. As a middle of the middle income American, my life is pretty good. But I understand how others would disagree.
02:36 January 9, 2010 by Eagle63
Yeah, something's wrong here; Canada is in 4th place...; should clearly be First !! ;-)

Anyway, in many regards it is like Sweden (and Norway); a nordic country, lots of space, low population density, lots of beautiful nature, well educated friendly people, lots of hi-tech companies, great road system.

A big difference however; Canadians pay a lot less tax !
03:24 January 9, 2010 by maxbrando
If Sweden is such a great place to live, why is boredom the leading cause of death?
03:41 January 9, 2010 by KAZANOVA
i don't think so, actually oslo is twice more expensive,

and i can not believe that this stupid mashroom shape lied in the heart of stockholm it should be a fountain or a statue not a stupid aliens spaceship!!!!!!!
04:28 January 9, 2010 by repat_xpat
Nemesis: Where have you been for the last few weeks? I've missed your unprovoked attacks on America and its people. Your clear pontification always provides great insight into those who hate the USA. If I were king, I would make you the official spokeswoman for all who hate the America and its people.

I loved Sweden for the two years that I lived there. I loved its landscape, its people, its cost line, but it is the most expensive place that I have lived. Also, the government is overbearing.

I have the same life style in the US that my coworkers in Sweden had. Same kind of house, same cars, same vacations, same food, same health care (actually it's much better in the US). The difference is that my family in the US is supported by my income alone while my co-workers families in Sweden (same job) are supported by two people. It takes double the bread winners to provide the same lifestyle in Sweden as compared to the US. From my personal multinational experience, I can believe this report.

BTW: I don't see any more lust for material goods and travel in the US than I saw in Sweden. People are people. They are not more or less evil because they live in the US or in Sweden.
04:57 January 9, 2010 by Investor612

What does the fact I prefer FOX to the other American news networks have to do with the content of what I wrote? That's silly.

The FOX derangement syndrome is a curious thing. Apparantly some people are so demanding to have their own hard left bias reflected in the news they watch, they get apoplectic with rage towards a network with a lesser in degree conservative bias.
05:44 January 9, 2010 by CLiv
To repat_xpat, If you have the same life style in the US as you had in Sweden please let me know in what state you live. Personally I think you are full of crap. So you have 5-6 weeks vacation, that is not included sick days. You also have 1 to 1 1/2 year paid maternity leave, free healthcare and you are able to get home by 5 p.m. to eat dinner with the whole family. Yes, yes, please let me know what state provides this in America. I have live in Sweden 20 years and in America for 16 years. So far I have not found a place in America that focuses more on family than Sweden.
07:45 January 9, 2010 by mkvgtired
Nemesis, you are right. If the authors of the report are all gun toting redneck Americans that must be why the US came in first place right? Well I guess France is the epitome of the passportless rednecks you seem to think fill the US.
08:02 January 9, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
Actually, investor, it's not silly. You pretty much discredited yourself when you said that all other mainstream U.S. media is "hard left". That's insane. The mainstream American media is center-right. And suggesting that Fox's right-wing bias is a lesser degree than the mainstream media's left-wing bias is ludicrous. Otherwise, you make some good points.

Nemesis, I wish you would stop being so patronizing when talking about Americans. You make a lot of good points on articles about human rights issues, but whenever America shows up in an article you lose credibility by acting like the fact that you knew some poorly integrated Americans in Sweden who had mental breakdowns gives you some sort of knowledge about most Americans. With your condescending attitude towards Americans and blanket judgments you're no worse than the Americans who know nothing about Sweden yet feel entitled to judge it all the same. Most commenters on the Local make a few good points and then one ludicrous point that shows a lack of connection with reality. You all like hating each other's posts so much that you won't admit when the other side has made good points.

Everyone with knowledge of the Nordics knows Norway is far more expensive than Sweden. You can see that with the booze chain: Norwegians drive to Sweden for booze, Swedes to Denmark, Danes to Germany, Germans to France, Finns to Estonia, Estonians to Russia, etc. etc. So something is obviously wrong with this information.

But it's also true that the purpose of this information is misrepresented in the headlines and misunderstood by a lot of readers... Kaethar's point was good abaout that. This information isn't an objective rating of quality of life for an average person in each country. It's a subjective rating meant for an upper-middle-class American (think one of the husbands of "the real housewives of orange county") to find out how much it will cost them to move their entire lifestyle as is to another country... basically this info is for people who are thinking about moving for business reasons but don't really want to move their head or mindset to another style of living. As for my personal observations, Sweden is a great place to have a family, to be old, or to be a small child. Most of the benefits are related to having a family - so if you're not going to have a family you're going to be subsidizing other families. This is really a conservative, family-oriented society. It's also more conformist up here in the Nordics than other parts of the West. It's a stable place, you know what to expect from it. If you're a more open-minded person who wants to live your own way then this can be a hard country to live in.
08:21 January 9, 2010 by Investor612
Mr. Puppy,

Re FOX. FOX has a conservative bias which I clearly stated. I did state that the bias is less than the hard left bias of the other American networks and I stand by that. I watch them all, though the others less than FOX.

Even though FOX has a conservative bias, especially in their commentary shows, I regularly hear liberals and liberal points of view on FOX-Geraldo Rivera, Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, Shep Smith and many more. I rarely hear/see a conservative on the other American networks. If you can name some who regularly appear I'd be glad to hear them. They're aren't any.

As for the assertion the other American networks are "center right," that makes sense only from a European perspective. From an American perspective they're hard left. Poll after poll shows the American public views the American media as having a liberal bias.

You discredited yourself by displaying such ignorance about both the perspective of Americans and the nature of the American media.
08:31 January 9, 2010 by Aigbe
Visitors from Canada, this last christmas indicated that Sweden was too expensive , considering the cost of parking a car and access to public toilets and bathroom.
09:40 January 9, 2010 by Liquido
People keep it simple... a country is what you make of it and not what some so called analyst, who is probably no more than a pencil pusher decides to report.

All 3 surrounding Nordic lands are more expensive to live in and even holiday in as Demarks Kroner is pegged to the Euro, anyone with at least 2 brain cells and who is a frequent traveller will know this.

Other EU lands are also more expensive to live in, take Ireland for example, where rental accommodation prices are very high, so even if the average Joe Blogs' there commands a better salary the rent sucks a lot of that away and before the crash property prices were through the roof.

There is a lot to take in to consideration when comparing living costs of each country but if we keep it to what we all need on a daily basis like a visit to the Supermarket, which can easily burn a whole in your pocket here in Sweden. Yes we all know many supermarkets in other lands offer a much better selection and many times give much better value but in general clothes and electronics are not that much different these days in prices, especially if you're buying over the net for electronics.

Some products are cheaper elsewhere and sometimes cheaper or the same price here, even with 25% vat.

Eating out, well lunches as we all know are great deals here, going to a good eatery in the evening can be expensive and better value in many EU lands can be had.

Then again if you visit a top quality eatery in the UK and Spain as an example with good service and quality ( fine dining ) you pay mega in those places also.

Sweden's standard and cost of living is good compared to many western lands. Subsidized rents for housing helps, there can't be too many lands on this planet that can offer housing including your heating for the price that the masses pay here in Sweden on a monthly/yearly basis.

The down side of Sweden is the social interaction, its cold even without these current temperatures and i don't see it changing in my life time.

I have lived here for 20 years and i have been fortunate enough to have always worked for myself and i never work more than 6 months of the year, choosing to be on holiday the other 6 months.

I travel frequently, spending 2-16 weeks in other lands at a time and have done this since i was 18, i am now 45, so i DO KNOW what the cost of living is in many other lands around the world and speak from experience.
09:42 January 9, 2010 by Marc the Texan
Come on! Norway is way more expensive than Sweden. Oslo is extremely expensive compared to Stockholm, Copenhagen, London, NY, etc. I had to retreat back to Sweden because Norway was breaking me when I was there.
09:43 January 9, 2010 by franny66
Here is a few observational Facts on Sweden:

Sweden's unemployment is much higher than the official rate the government cooks the rate by various training courses and education, etc

Sweden is expensive, but i would doubt very much that its more expensive than Norway, Ireland, Denmark or Switzerland. Finland I cannot answer I have never been there.Fact.

Social entertainment like going out to eat and drink is very expensive in Sweden, but again i would suggest Norway is more expensive as is Ireland.Fact.

Medical care in Sweden is free but the quality of the care and level of expertise of the doctors are low. The NHS in England is probably the best all-round (very good doctors) I have seen In Europe even though British criticise it all the time. I would suggest swedens health system is more Eastern European like Czech, Slovakia or Poland in that its a rigid system that's not very flexible e.g. Swedish produce medicine must be used all the time and very little insight to research done abroad and very inward looking for medical solutions.Fact.

Climate wise its difficult long winters and wet summers..so there are better climates in Europe no doubt. Fact.

I find it difficult to meet swedes outside of work, they are cold and suspicious of overseas people..they have the same problem as the UK and Ireland with drunk aggressive young people at the weekend..its seems this is a common problem in northern Europe for the last 10 years or so and is getting worse as a health professional I have seen its consequences. Fact.

Finally, I think Sweden has a serious problem with immigration as the UK , France and Italy has as well. Its not been talked about and bound to pose serious problems in future. There is alot of discontent in the immgrant communities in Sweden,the health care system has failed them I see alot of discrimination there more so than other countries I have worked in and that's a fact.
10:01 January 9, 2010 by bjinger
it's free expression. don't take it seriously. the asians don't when american count.
10:02 January 9, 2010 by Nemesis
@ repat_xpat,

Glad you missed me:)

I was back in Ireland visiting mum and dad in Donegal. Had a good time in Belfast shopping and seeing friends. Do you seriously think when I am back home with family and friends, I would waste my time commenting on what you guys say on the local?

I don't think so:)

I have family, friends and a social life:)

I critised the article as it is very inacurrate. It was obviously written by someone who has never left the USA.

Sweden is less expensive than Ireland even with the economic crash. Irish health care and infrastructure are practically third world. 40 million americans don't get healthcare. Nordic countries have well developed infrastructure.

Norway and Denmark are more expensive than Sweden. Try buying a pizza or beer in Norway.

People are stating here that the article is for upper middle class. Gucci, Hermes, Sergio Rossi, etc are all less expensive in Paris, Berlin, Munich, Vienna and Milan than in New York for the exact same items.

As for housing. Sweden has less expensive houses than anywhere in most of Europe. If you don't believe me, goto Dublin and buy a house. You will have to practically tear it down and rebuild it to get it liveable and it will be a horrendeous price with most likely not good acess to transport newtork.

Whoever wrote that article has not got a clue and really needs to get a passport and travel. The article is based on stereotype, not fact.
10:15 January 9, 2010 by Liquido
Franny your fact statement on climate,

compared to other Northern EU lands, Swedens summer weather has been more sunny than both Ireland & the UK over the years on many occasions.

I Spent last winter in Nueva Andalucia Spain, which is an area just south of Marbella rented a Nice 115sqm Apt with all mod cons, it was freezing and every morning getting out of bed was...and to keep an Apt or Villa there warm costs a small fortune as electric is very expensive.

So when the sun did not shine it was cold and over the last 3 weeks the Costa Del Sol has been getting a heavy rain on a daily basis.
10:24 January 9, 2010 by dsclimb
"Demand higher salaries and/or lower taxes, more competition between businesses and lower costs for food and clothing"


If you can manage to increase wages proportionally by what ever means, at the same time lower prices, then you will have solved a major economic mystery! What will provide the extra money in your pocket other than higher prices? The answer in Sweden is nothing.

Overall though, Exports from Sweden and foreign businesses sufficiently encouraged to commit to Sweden, 1 is tough at present, the other almost impossible given the growth in China / Asia and probably Brazil in the coming years.

Sweden needs to have a group huddle, decide it's specialities (in business, manufacturing, what ever it may be etc) that can't be done else where and then market itself like a cheap prostitute to the world. If it doesn't then like everywhere else in Europe it will trickle away to the East.
10:38 January 9, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
Investor, I am American... so I don't see how I can discredit myself through not knowing Americans or what Americans think. I do know that it's usually right wing Americans who think that the mainstream American media has a left-wing bias and that it's usually far-right Americans who think that the mainstream American media has a _hard_ left slant. When I said that the mainstream media has a center-right slant, I wasn't speaking necessarily from a European or American perspective, I was speaking from the perspective of the political spectrum as a whole. You might call it a global perspective. America as a whole is a center-right land, as is most of Europe, though most of Europe is a bit more center than the U.S. Thus, calling the mainstream U.S. media 'hard-left' is a very distorted and far-right perspective. As far as going the subjective route, about half of Americans perceive the mainstream media as being left wing, the other half thinks it's center. Americans' views are split about 50/50 right and left.
10:58 January 9, 2010 by steve_38
I think Sweden overall is cheaper.

Houses are dirt cheap, e.g. a house overlooking a lake near Stockholm with a decent bit of land £750K Ish. Similar house in UK £10M if you can get it.

However tax is stupid beyond belief at 60%, agree with people above lots of other things are expensive.

You dont live in Sweden to have a high net salary, you live in Sweden to have a VERY EASY NON STRESSED LIFE WITH LOADS OF HOLIDAYS.

This iw why living in Sweden is OK its about balance.
11:10 January 9, 2010 by Taxalien
Well we knew it all the time. And now, Sweden also has the highest taxation pressure in the world. Fantastic isn't it.


The "moderate" socialist Reinfeldt has achieved a world gold cup in taxation. Who were the previous winners? Maybe Olof Palme? He is in good company!

If you want to join a new party to deal a blow to the Socialists in all parties please contact me at your earliest convenience!

11:14 January 9, 2010 by Bostonexpat
@ Nemesis...I actually agreed with a point you made a few days ago then I forgot the golden rule...if the US is mentioned, look out for the ranting. Then it's absolutely clear that you should wait until TL can post drawings w/comments so you can better articulate yourself.

As for the article..it really comes down to personal choice. Yes, looking at the price tag/taxes, things are expensive and my discretionary income is nonexistent here. However, I've never had this much time with family,it's actually encouraged for me to take Summer vacation in an increment larger than 2 weeks, and I have a safety net in place in case I lose my job--that's what counts to me.

Well Nemesis, I have to go...after I check out Fox network on line, I'm going to drive my gas guzzling SUV .5K to pick up some items for my McMansion that is overextended with the bank and subsequently write my congressman because it's been too long since the US invaded a country... typical American, right?
11:43 January 9, 2010 by Keith #5083
It is quite difficult to really make a fair comparison - especially to USA standards. There is clean, drinkable water in Sweden. There are legal animal rights and food that is not stuffed with chemicals and/or drugs. There is not the need to 'eat out as much' as most enjoy such a good and peaceful standard in their homes. Nor is there the need to sell your home and belongings if one of your 'insured children' requires treatment for, say, a prosthetic arm!!

Nice of the magazine to try and deflect attention from the shortcomings of the American 'dream/nightmare!' Just another hype to try and legitimise the absence of a compassionate health care system in the self-centred USA, huh? It's the system I'm poking at - not the people of the USA, who have deserved better for many years and for the most part are wonderful folk.

'Expensive' is a relative term - heaven help you if you have uninsured relatives in the USA!!!
11:46 January 9, 2010 by lintexdig
this study fleshed out the truth. look at your yearly purshase receipts, each item has increased its prices.
12:06 January 9, 2010 by ChomskyReader
There are many things to be said about Sweden and other countries in terms of living standards and costs.

My father once told me, if you want to learn more about your country leave it for a while, go and live somewhere else.

Originally from England, I moved to Spain, France, Greece, Norway and have lived Sweden for 8 years. One thing that gets to me, is when people say healthcare is free here, is is most definately not, you have to pay 100kr to see your doctor right? Face value for medicine, it is not subsidised until you get to the point of högkostnadskydd, so if like me you got a stomach ulcer once and had to pay 938kr for a 5 day course of pills, you get no money off. (A hell of an amount)

If you go to emergency (akuten) you pay 300kr flat rate at which time any medicine you do recieve is within that cost, however it's a cost you still have to fork out.

So in summing up: we are taught where we live is the best no matter which country you are from, you only understand about your country of origin once you leave it.

Healthcare in Sweden is not free, so please those of you that have written that it is need to have a rethink.
12:15 January 9, 2010 by Kronaboy
What a load of rubbish lets take one factor Freedom UK=100 same as Sweden; as someone who was born and lived most of their life in the UK all I can say is I have never been arrested, searched or beaten to pulp by Swedish police because of my name, unfortunately I cant say the same for the UK. Yes I will admit it cost a heck of a lot more to buy a car in Sweden, but so what every year in the UK an average of 25,000 people die because they cant afford to heat their homes, besides public transport is cheap, clean runs on time and very efficient, can you say the same for the UK (NO)??? To be honest the average prices of goods are comparable with the UK so long as you are happy to eat seasonally, yes meat is more expensive than the UK, but you have to taken into account the quality of the meat (and the conditions they are raised under) is superior to the UK.
12:17 January 9, 2010 by Nemesis
@ Bostonexpat

This is being dicsussed elsewhere on the local.


The survey is very inaccurate.
12:28 January 9, 2010 by dsclimb
i think kronaboy sums up the UK / Sweden pretty well. It depends on what you enjoy in life and what your goals in life are. If you are a techno freak, materialistic and want to amass a global business empire, then you might as well go to china now. If you value time more than cash, your family and the simple things in life then Sweden is cheap, because you can have these in abundance, whilst still living in a reasonable home, pay the bills comfortably and eat well. The is quality of life, who cares if the lastest ipod nanoist, smallist, bestest ever seen in the world costs 20% more!!!

Tax in the UK is not far behind Sweden it is just hidden, your taxed up front. then taxed on everything else. You pay tax extra tax (not VAT), on insurance, flights, even broadband now. Everything other than kids clothes are taxed. The UK will only get worse over coming years too.
13:48 January 9, 2010 by Donut
Its a mistake. They just don't want to admit it. Sweden cost a cost of living score of 30 something in 2009 and nothing much has changed. One year later it gets 0. Pure uselessness.
13:52 January 9, 2010 by Puffin
Comment: Like most things it depends what you choose to compare - you will always find things that are cheaper and more expensive...

Personally I have managed to have a much higher standard of living in Sweden compared to the UK:

- I have attended adult education and University with no course or tuition fees - in fact Sweden paid me grants and loans of 7,500 sek (£680) per month

- I am currently realising a 25 year dream to do a PhD - I do not have to pay a penny in fees for this - in fact my departments pays me 24,000 sek per month (around £23,000 per year)

- my kids were able to attend a high quaility childcare where all meals, snacks and activties including excursions were included and it cost 1260sek per month (around £110) for the first child with a discount for the second

- my kids have been able to take part in a lot of sports and activities - gymnastics, riding, skating skiing, band and the costs are generally low so everyone can afford them - around 2000 sek (£180) per year - for - for example 40 riding lessons or 120 skating lessons.

- both my husband and I were able to spend time at home when the children were little thanks to Sweden's 16 months of paid childcare for EACH child - having sick kids is not a crisis either as you can get paid a certain amount by the government to be home for up to 60 days per year

- we were able to get a fantasy house as it is so much cheaper than the UK - we live in the country - around 2½ hours from Stockholm in a 6 bedroom/2½ bathroom farmhouse that cost 2,000,000 - at the time we bought it was £155,000 - enough to buy a 1 bedroom falt in a bad area of greater London.

There are benefits in the quality of life - Mr Puffin remembers fondly days of taking paternity leave spent mushroom and blueberry picking in local forests - the summer evenings where we swim in local lakes after work and school

Electical and consumer goods can be expensive Sweden is not a bargain countryfor material possessions - but it's always worth checking out Clas Ohlsson/jula which is usually cheaper

Food can be expensive if you don't cook Swedish style food but rely on expensive imports. However Lidl is driving down costs and supermarkets have own ranges. Our local farmer charges 5 sek/kg (around 45p/kg) for organic potatoes and I just paid 45 sek (£4) for 4 salmon fillets - so with a salad that is dinner for a fiver (£5).

Hopefully they won't correct these details so those of who live here can maintain our standard of living the way it is - OK material possessions may be more expesnive but the family time and quality of life are the best things
14:38 January 9, 2010 by skatty
I think there are some problems to consider what country has the higher quality of life by different organization, because different organization use different kind of measurements and facts for their calculation of "quality". Take for example Iceland, where has been on UN's top country for the quality of live, when it's actually bankrupt and its economy is almost collapsed. Another example is weather, which isn't an important fact for quality of life on the UN list (Canada with terribly cold winters and Sweden with terribly long period of darkness are in top of the list).

15:22 January 9, 2010 by kmbr
Nemesis: Where have you been for the last few weeks? I've missed your unprovoked attacks on America and its people.

Anti-americanism. It's a form of religion for some. For a movement to survive you certainly don't need something to believe in, just something to hate.

That said, it's insanely expensive to live here. Unless you are a hermit who has an allergic reaction to sunlight and someone who spends inordinate amounts of time going to the doctor...quality of life here --aint all that great.
16:03 January 9, 2010 by dsclimb
(Canada with terribly cold winters and Sweden with terribly long period of darkness are in top of the list).

These winters are only bad if you dislike winter sports, many of which are free once you have the kit. Darkness, many decades ago, some clever folk invented electricity and light bulbs, failing this candles also work. I think some peoples lives are generally glass half empty, so no matter how rich, how great the climate etc they will still moan. Which is fine, just don't live near me, because I not interested in hearing it !!
16:40 January 9, 2010 by entry
You have the right spirit. I like the weather here on the West coast of Sweden. As far as I am concerned it is really not too cold and I especially enjoy the fact that the summers are never too hot. The darkness in the winter doesn't phaze me anymore and the long days in the summer are put to great use.
17:37 January 9, 2010 by khan,waseem
i think England,Ireland are more expensive.
18:27 January 9, 2010 by Investor612
Mr. Puppy,

let me get this straight. It's outrageous for me to call you out of touch regarding what Americans think because you're an American. But the reverse is perfectly justified. Double standards, anyone?

Your assertion the public is split roughly 50/50 on whether the American media is biased is laughable. Poll after poll shows the the public overwhelmingly believes the American media is biased left. You can find links to polls here:


I challenged you to name some conservatives that regularly appear on the other American networks. Your failure to answer speaks for itself.

Your opinion that the US is a center right country is one I share. Your opinion that Western Europe is center right is true only if your idea of a centrist is Barack Obama. In Sweden, the ruling "conservatives" are big government, social welfare, global warming hoax proponents.

I'm often amused at how many people way to the left of the American center see themselves as centrists.
19:02 January 9, 2010 by dsclimb
puppy investor, you can fight left right and centre forever. The problem with US tv is the fact it shows so little International news, what it does show regardless of network is USA biaised.

You would never see the Palestinian perspective of Israel on US tv, it just would be considered un-patriotic for some reason. The same can be said for anything war, oil, climate, religion... long list.... if it in anyway might suggest that the american dream maybe not be 100% correct, or be impacted, it doesn't get any prime time network space. The fact that chat show hosts can swing an election or public opinion says alot about how easily the uneducated can be swayed.

This is the biggest problem with the US and Americans, unless they actually get a passport and leave their homeland, they base their opnions of other nations on either biaised news, wiki or poor surveys like this. The only good thing is, they might just stay at home, but this doesnt work, they want to invade places and change them into america instead !!!

If posters screen names here carried more detail you could guess their opnion 99% based purely on their location.
19:10 January 9, 2010 by Greg in Canada
I know Sweden is more expensive than Canada, probably every European country is nowadays, but I'd question that Sweden is the world's most expensive country.

Nemesis, why do you try to highjack virtually every thread for your anti-American rants.
19:23 January 9, 2010 by Jan-Bug
Oh My! Are you still airing your opinions "slickscott"?

What do you know and where the heck are you from? Have you ever been outside of that box you're obviously living in, or ever been in Sweden? If so , PLEASE tell us where!

Besides, this article is not about if this country is scenic or not. Which in fact it is by the way.

Sweden happens to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world for your information, but how would you know? And that is not just my personal opinion.

Please do us all a favor before you spit out any comments or opinions in the future; Do some home work, feed your poor little head with some information before you participate in any game or conversations that you are completely clueless about.

What is your issue about swedes and the country I'd like to know? I'm not saying you have to like a country or the their citizen, but your personal drama does not fit in here!

Did your boyfriend/girlfriend take off for Sweden with a swedish "blond blue eyed" beauty and left your sorry bitter azzz alone and behind at any given time or what?


To all of you who really has interesting comments about this article that I enjoy reading, please accept my apology; I'm Sorry!
20:38 January 9, 2010 by bira
CLiv, you obviously don't get it. The 1 1/2 yr maternity leave is NOT free, nor is the healthcare, it's paid for by the high income taxes, the high VAT (MOMS) taxes, etc, etc. which is why all the products are so expensive. It is, however, a trade off; while my company is awesome in terms of affording their employees benefits, healthcare is not paid for by taxes in the US. My healthcare insurance costs me $20,000/year (my choice) of which my employer pays a little more than half. I could easily lower that cost to less than a quarter if i wanted to enjoy similar service as I would expect in Sweden, long wait times and difficulty seeing a dr. unless I pretend I'm having chest pains. Believe me, I'm very familiar with the Swedish system since I grew up there and also hear what my elderly mother and uncle has to go through in order to get to see a doctor unless there is something life threatening. I'd rather pay $20,000 in insurance by my own choice and be able to see my physician whenever I want than just having it taken from me in taxes and then not be able to see my physician. Lastly, the whole point of a cost-of-living comparison is comparing the cost of core items as a percentage of your available (spendable) income after taxes. There is an agreed upon standard for such a comparison which includes certain items. When that "bag" of goods is totaled up and if it costs you 25% of your available income and the same "bag" cost someone else 20% of theirs, your cost of living is 5% higher, simple as that.
20:54 January 9, 2010 by SamQam
apparently who ever made the research never visited Oslo for example.
21:05 January 9, 2010 by Investor612

And most of the news here is about Sweden. Your pointless? Some Euros are so ignorant polls show over a third believe 9/11 was an inside job-about the most implausible conspiracy theory ever.

Americans are very familiar with the Palestinian -Wipe the Jews/Israel from the face of the earth- "perspective." They're very aware of the rising anti-Semitism in Europe where appeasing the mushrooming Muslim immigrant population is the easy route. There's no shortage of news from the rest of the world in the US.

Like to invade countries? You want apologies for fighting the cold war for you? In case you missed it, Afghanistan is a NATO operation and there were several, a few dozen actually, allies in Iraq.

The passport attempt at insult is specious. I have a passport. I've been to Europe, will return again this summer. I've been to Asia. Have you? The passport thing is mostly a matter of distance. I live in the Upper Midwest and have a summer cabin as well. Take my trip there and back using different, equal distance routes each way and transpose it on a map of Europe and I'd have driven through all or parts of Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Yet I'd have been in only 2 American states.
21:05 January 9, 2010 by just a question

a beer in a bar: 10 kr

food in supermarkets: cheap

fresh food in markets: cheap

going to the cinema: from 3 to 6 euros

healthcare: free

sun: all year

kindness: all year

smile: for free

taxes: 10-20%
21:08 January 9, 2010 by morchad
Most companies have a different price index for different markets hence you have price variation so comparing prices between countries is a waste of time.

Cheap/expensive in Sweden is relative to the person who is buying it...dependant on your income and living conditions you then decide if that is cheap/expensive for you.

I don't think Sweden is expensive, I just think other places are cheap. Portugal is cheap as hell but the average industrial salary is about 7000 SEK per month

Tourists who come and bitch about the prices obviously don't understand how market economics works....

As for those who reside here.....How many people do you know start every sentence with "Well in the UNITED STATES we have this or we have that"? I know plenty of them....always comparing to how things work/cost back home.

STOP comparing....THIS IS SWEDEN deal with it
21:41 January 9, 2010 by dsclimb
Investor, my comments were in reply to you, but not necessarily applying to you, just the average american person.

Yes the US has conspiracy theorist too.

The average american could not put a pin on map on Israel or Palestine, so to describe them as 'very' familiar is a major exaggeration. Saying that the average UK chav, could put a pin on a map showing sweden, so I'll call it evens there!

Clearly the US won the cold war single handedly.

Afghan yes nato, Iraq, you were going with or without help. UK Hutton enquiry has proved this publically already.

The passport attempt was valid, what % of Americans have a passport? Yes I have travelled, or rather worked. Been to every continent bare the coldest and due to family commitments I don't fancy 9mths+ working down there anymore, although I always did/do fancy it.

So, having lived and work in lot of places, with a lot of different people, watched a lot of different foreign TV and lived with foreign families, I can honestly say I have a fairly rounded and balanced opinion. You sadly come across rightly or wrongly as a sterotypical American who believes his own nations hype. It's good to be proud or defensive of where you come from, but seeing its flaws is not bad thing either. I'm sure your different in the flesh, as everyone online is!!
21:55 January 9, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
dsclimb, you're an idiot. you are obviously unaware of what happens in america and like to bash americans based on your ignorance, despite the fact that investor and I are both americans and disagrree on the fundamentals of our own culture. Does that teach you anything about life?
22:04 January 9, 2010 by karex
I think that a lot of people confuse cost of items with cost of living. Cost of living is related to how much "bang for your buck" you can get. If you earn 100 dollars a month but sepnd 5 cents on electricity, pay no taxes, 30 cents on food, etc... then you have a high standard of living. If however, you spend 10 months out of the year paying taxes and only have abouit two of free money to support yourself and your family, then it's expensive.

Things are more expensive in the UK - agreed. BUT They earn a HECK of a lot more in comparison....

You have to compare how much you earn pre and post taxes, with how much things cost. Simple.
22:30 January 9, 2010 by mannorun
There are some very interesting and some what balanced comments here. The bottom line is whether you want to hear/read it or not, Sweden is expensive period

The cost of living basically meausres what your take home pay that is if it can even take you home can buy you. That said, i think it is a matter of tradeoff and boils down to what you as individual want. Sweden could be a good country to live in, in terms of some aspects but in terms of others which of course outweighs the favorable ones, Sweden could be a little freaking box!

Even the fact that France is first on the list does not necessarily imply that everybody there lives on a high.So it is just a matter o choice.

Adieu mes amis!!!!
23:26 January 9, 2010 by norling
When you came up with the "average american" line you lost your credibility with me sir. What tavern do you get your info from? I can not only find Israel and Palistine on the map but also Andorra I've been to Norway twice to visit relatives and they have been here to visit me, I prefer to visit friends and family here in my own country. As to the cold war its biggest accomplishment was it spared the world another european style war of total annihilation, from the 100 years war the the papal wars the age of the great schism to the two world wars and the Balkan wars slaughtering people to the last man has been distinclty euoropean.
23:57 January 9, 2010 by wyntha
If you want to know what others believe is the case compared to their own countries then Expats in Sweden should look at the way their Expat salaries are made up. One component is the cost of living adjustment against their own countries. Is it negative or positive. You have your answer there and I dare say you would have argued your case if you thought it was wrong!
01:00 January 10, 2010 by americanska
I like financial independence, big houses, big cars - God Bless the USA!!

But hey - letting the government control my life and ration everything for me is fun too - personal responsibility is overrated right?
03:53 January 10, 2010 by rgsmo
This week UNT could finally find a homeless man, in Uppsala. And people are talking on that issue. Number of homeless is around 3.5 milllion in USA.

This is just a company which produces figures for rich American citizens, where to buy property and where to "retire abroad"!!!. Those cannot reflect the real standards. Priorities and the definition of "needs" vary in different countries.

Take look to the freedom scores of Malaysia and Cuba. Malaysia gets 50 points and Cuba has only 8. what kind of freedom is that? A woman cannot go outside without wearing a scarf and a woman cannot be a high ranked manager in Malaysia. Even the people from other religions are forced to live like muslims. And Malaysia gets 6 folds of Cuba. It is like a joke!

And by the way, yes USA is a bloody country, who can deny that after watching the news on Iraq and Afghanistan? ( I mean news, not fox)
04:30 January 10, 2010 by CatGirl

I agree with you!

When referring to the standard of living, I see my relatives in the USA who are well educated having much better lives then me and my Swedish partner who are equally as educated.

I have lived in Sweden for 14 years and think I know this country pretty well by now. I think it is a lot harder to improve a persons standard of living in Sweden then it is in the USA. I see a lot of people my age or younger in Sweden not having the same standard of living as their 60+ parents had. Struggling to buy decent sized apartments and houses and forget being able to afford an extra summer house on the side unless its inherited.

Over the years I have seen the price of coffee go up, going out to eat has gone up, buying food and clothing, cost of health care among other things.

To get a house in Stockholm is horrendous. After visiting my relatives in Connecticut last summer I realized that what we need to pay for a crappy house here in Stockholm we can afford a mansion or a really nice house in Connecticut.

I am really starting to question why I remain here in Sweden struggling to find a job amid serious discrimination against foreigners and immigrants. This is one issue then there is also age discrimination. Once you pass 40 in Stockholm it seems to be a no mans land in the tech job sector.I think its much harder for a foreigner or immigrant to have a good standard of living here then a native Swede.

But we are debating the standard of living when the topic is really about how expensive Sweden is. No! Sweden is not as expensive as Norway and not the most expensive country in Europe but it is a lot more expensive then it used to be and usually in the top 10 of the most expensive countries to live in.

Some statistical information to prove my point that Sweden is an expensive country. Maybe not the most expensive country but in the top 10-20 rankings in Europe:

This study done by a native Swede at Berkeley in the USA pretty much supports my points in all aspects, racial discrimination, economics, etc.

This study was written in the Fall of 2000 by a native Swedish student studying in Berkeley.

06:22 January 10, 2010 by Kaethar
@Investor612: It makes people more "motivated?" Even if that was true it wouldn't matter because the American system (of the middle class having enormous houses, cars, everything else) relies on a sizeable portion of that population being struggling. It doesn't matter if a really hard worker manages to "make it" and become middle class because this dream could never become true for the majority. The USA relies on having a struggling lower class and a scale of wealth. I could never live in such a society. To me having a large house and lots of cars is not a sign of prosperity. And the Americans who think so would not be happy in Sweden and we don't want them here.
08:17 January 10, 2010 by square
As an expat living in Oslo I can 100% say it is much more expensive in Norway.Take a look at the thousands of Norwegains that cross the border on the weekend to shop at Nordby near Stromsad. Not to mention the price of a beer, meal and other small luxuries.The result has no credibitlty when they can not eve give an accurate account of this measure.
10:23 January 10, 2010 by cwb
Comment: In order to understand cost of living you have to clarify your situation. I have lived and worked all over the USA....I have made approx. 250K per year and have two children and a Swedish spouse. First, if you are going to start comparing places to live, you had better include cities that would give you a similar lifestyle and social environment. We currently live in an an affluent northern suburb of Stockholm. In my opinion, the only places that in the USA that would provide a similar lifestyle are Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, or Boston. I have lived in 4 out of 6 of these places and the least expensive is Portland or Seattle if you want to live in an affluent neighborhood, and an affluent neighborhood starts at $800K to $900K and can easily go to $20-$60M neighborhoods if you get close to where the money lives (Bill Gates). If you want to live in a big house, drive a big car, pay low taxes, not have a much of social system, live in a place with huge differences between rich and poor (which can breed a violent society), you can choose a number of places in the USA that will give you the illusion of living in a place with a higher standard of living....with Texas being the place of where your money and new big house will go the farthest. We decided to leave the USA and return to my spouses homeland (Sweden) because we believed that our quality of life would be better in Sweden and so far it is better than we imagined. For those of you who believe America is the better place to live..consider the following before leaving Sweden. Stability of Jobs....you can be fired at will in the USA.... I use to work 80+ hours a week and made $250K+ per year....since the downfall of the crisis in America, I was replaced by 3 Harvard MBA graduates, they were promised upward mobility that never happened...all 3 were terminated after 8 months of employment. If you loose your job in America, you get 18 months of cobra insurance..we paid about $20K per year for the coverage...after the 18 months we were paying $2500 per month for health coverage because of some small pre-existing conditions....I had a friend who's wife had cancer and they could not get any insurance after their Cobra was completed...they ended up loosing a $2.5M home and their entire retirement account. I have another friend that has two daughters in college and he is forking out $90K per year....both kids will do about 8 years in college...so he will be out $720K.....AMERICA IS VEGAS....I WISH YOU LUCK IF YOU CHOOSE TO GAMBLE!
10:33 January 10, 2010 by Micaela
I am from Australia and had the good fortune to spend three weeks in Sweden last January. I had a laugh when I saw that Sweden was supposed to be the "world's most expensive country". From my limited experience of Sweden I would say that the prices of food, housing and clothing were very similar to the prices in Sydney, Australia. I know the approximate value of my friends' apartment in Stockholm and that too is about the same value as a similar apartment in Sydney...a bit expensive but not too bad at all. I was expecting my trip to cost me so much more but I got a pleasant surprise. The U.S. State Department's Index of Overseas Living Costs must have been some number they pulled out of their bums. Love Sweden, what a pretty place. Can't wait to visit again.
10:53 January 10, 2010 by summo
surely this survey must be the best thing that can happen for those already in Sweden. Why spoil a good thing, with a major influx? Let the myth run!
10:54 January 10, 2010 by Kronaboy
In response to below

Average Pay = S**t, that's why all the Spanish are in London cleaning toilets for minimum pay

21:05 January 9, 2010 by just a question


a beer in a bar: 10 kr

food in supermarkets: cheap

fresh food in markets: cheap

going to the cinema: from 3 to 6 euros

healthcare: free

sun: all year

kindness: all year

smile: for free

taxes: 10-20%
12:18 January 10, 2010 by Rick Methven
Lets move from all the nationalist" My country is better than your country" rhetoric. and get back to the veracity of this index.

The publisher makes a bland statement "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."

She gives no source for her statement and no backup. and also places Iraq as the cheapest country in the world to have " An American lifestyle"

A more authoritative source of cost of living comparisons is www.Xpatulator.com

Xpatulator places Stockholm as #96 most expensive out of 276 cities in the World.

New York is #36 out of 276

And Baghdad , International Living magazines cheapest is placed right near the top at #243.

Xpatulator takes into account all the following cost factors:

Alcohol & Tobacco, Clothing, Education, Furniture & Appliances, Grocery, Healthcare, Household( housing/utiltiesetc), Personal Care, Recreation and Culture, Restaurants, Meals Out and Hotel and Transport.

It describes what is included in each category and even gives each of the 276 cities a ranking in each category.

This is much more believable than the biased magazines assessment which has no basis. I think that they just forgot to put a value in for Sweden - left it as zero and just said believe me its true LOL

Its reasons for the US ninth place is:

"From Florida's palm-lined coasts to Alaska's snow-covered crags…from the dazzle of New York to the big skies of Montana…the U.S. has, arguably, something to offer everyone.

And no question: It is the land of convenience. No place else on Earth is it easier to get what you want, when you want it. The U.S. is safe. It's comfortable. It can even be affordable. As readers will on occasion point out: It's possible to rent a place in central Nebraska for the same price you'll pay in Merida, Mexico. (Though that does beg the question: There amid the cornfields, can you see the opera, enjoy the café culture, or be at the beach in half an hour?) It's hard to beat the day-to-day ease you enjoy in the U.S. You can buy eye drops at a pharmacy at 3 a.m. and have dinner delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less. We are efficient. (And, if you've ever tried to shop on a Sunday in France or get a driver's license in Italy in under 45 days, you appreciate the merits in that.) But-as our editors and readers living overseas are quick to point out-convenience (and the frenetic pace that comes with it) is often overrated."
15:07 January 10, 2010 by iona
Your taxes may be high but at least you get something in return. Too greater part of our taxes go down the rat hole of supporting our imperialist ambitions.

Don Forbes

15:24 January 10, 2010 by just a question
Yes, but I'm sure they are more happy than you.

In response to below

Average Pay = S**t, that's why all the Spanish are in London cleaning toilets for minimum pay

21:05 January 9, 2010 by just a question
15:46 January 10, 2010 by Emmi
ok, here's my interpretation:

How much does it cost to get your nails done here in a salon, a full body spa treatment...
19:22 January 10, 2010 by dsc
American propaganda!

19:41 January 10, 2010 by moaca
Hi everybody, this is the first time I have seen such a heated debate going on.Almost 100 responses. Which shows how strongly we feel about Sweden and that we really do not appreciate some US survey. But do we really care how the yanks rate us? I for one do not want a good rating, because the last thing you want is to get the word out what a truly great country we live in and how blessed we are. If I was to rate the US, believe me they would end up with a lot of other 3rd world countries. I am not impressed with the PEOPLE in the US, but they do have some lovely countryside and nature. But then again, I can only judge on what I see on the tv, magazines and by talking to the ones at work. I work for a US company in the UK so I deal with them on regular basis.

By the way, the Yanks are not the true Americans, that is reserved for the original people who were murdered by our european ancestors. Luckily some of them are still alive though. And they have probably never heard of Sweden anyway!
20:43 January 10, 2010 by CatGirl
I do not like the presumption that Sweden is better then all other countries on this earth. I don't think America is the best country on earth either. Free health care in Sweden is a farce, reduced and subsidized but not free. You have about the equal amount of job security in Sweden as the USA. There are many people who work as consultants and as projektanställd here in Sweden This seems to be a really negative trend here. I know highly educated Swedes who haven't had permanent jobs for many years. How can a person build a life without a permanent job? Its hard to get loans etc. Swedes and immigrants alike should complain to the government about these practices or the government should try to give incentives to companies who do business in Sweden to hire more permanent employees or just to be based in Sweden in the first place. A persons salary should be more equal to the cost of living in a country. In Sweden it seems like people's cost of living has increased but not their salaries or even the possibility to get a secure job have decreased. A secure job in Sweden? Maybe this was once true in the 60's or 70's but not anymore! You can be fired here in Sweden without any warning. I know people who this has happened to. It can be over stupid things like jealously from another coworker or a boss slowly trying to push a person he doesn't like out by humiliation, it could be that you don't speak Swedish as well as everyone wants you to. It could be that a coworker sees you as a threat or that the company just needs to get rid of people quickly. There are many reasons and I have seen it happen to immigrants and Swedes alike. Both the USA and Sweden can be improved to be better places to live. This is true for most countries in the world. I guess its up to us to find or create our own little utopias. I want a good life in Sweden and I want the same benefits and rights as the natives. I guess the next question is. How do we improve things both here and in the USA? We should use our voting rights and get more politically active!!!! If we care about a country or countries in this case we should try to improve them. I might complain about Sweden at times but it does not mean that I do not care about this country. Sweden might be an expensive country in many ways but there are always ways to get around that. Instead of buying new stuff go to second hand stores, get a chair and maybe some paint to repaint it. Instead of inviting friends out to coffee, have coffee (fika) at home. Buy things through mail order, Blocket and ebay instead of at stores. Go to sales, collect discount coupons etc. I think I will try this earnestly for awhile and try and and see if I can improve my standard of living by saving money. Someone should really do a show or blog about this I think.
20:45 January 10, 2010 by botswanapete
I have to agree with cwb, ive lived in the US and i worked 70 plus hours a week and do the same jon in sweden in 40 with 7 weeks vacation...and better money.....no comparison, no heart attacks and no stress!
21:37 January 10, 2010 by nledit
I'm kind of confused on why this is so heated, and at times, kind of mean. This article is about cost of living. International Living magazine is all about showing Americans how to "live the life of luxury"..."beyond the American borders"..."at less cost". Because of this mission statement, cost of living is given a high % of the final number which decides the placement of the country. It would cost the average American more money to just live here, not even the "life of luxury". I think the author, perhaps not intentional, made it seem something it's not with her statement, "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. " That's not the case. Sweden's reputation as an oasis of fine living is not in doubt. It's that this magazine puts cost of living as a high importance. An American who wants to live a very good life for lower cost than what that would cost them in the USA would not want to come to Sweden. I totally agree. If cost of living was not of such high importance to this magazine, lets say only factored in at %5 instead of 15%, then Sweden would probably be in the top 3-5.. maybe number 1. So much negativity "my country is better than yours"... Good to have pride in your country, but come on, take a deep breath and count to 10 some of you...
21:37 January 10, 2010 by Greg in Canada
Why does everybody in Europe think that everybody in North America lives only to work, work, work?

I'm self employed, make a decent living and work less than thirty hours a week. The only downside of self employment however is that its sometimes hard to take extended time away. My wife is a teacher and has lots of vacation time, plus teachers in Canada are generally better paid than in Sweden or the USA relative to the cost of living index.

There are lots of people in N.A. on the workoholic treadmill, but not everybody fits the stereotype.
21:43 January 10, 2010 by nledit

I totally agree. Good post.
22:09 January 10, 2010 by entry

This study was written in the Fall of 2000 by a native Swedish student studying in Berkeley.


That study does not paint Sweden in a good light.

@ square

Oslo is 30 percent more expensive than Stockholm by the State Dept. numbers that the magazine claims to have used. Stockholm is considered 50 percent more expensive than Washington D.C. for State Dept. employees. There was a data entry error.

I would think the Swedish tourist board would force a correction to the article.

Post (Cost of Living) Allowance (DSSR 220) Percentage of Spendable Income Rates Effective: 01/03/2010

22:58 January 10, 2010 by mibrooks27
Nonsense. I've lived in Sweden, France, Germany, and the U.S. and the U.S. is by far the most expensive place to live. Oh sure, the "disposable, after tax, income is higher, but the government provides almost nothing in the way of a safety net or basic needs like healthcare, education, insurance, or public transportation. By the time you get done paying for those basic necessities, the average American is out 75% or more of what they make. The only people who actually get to enjoy that greater after tax income in the U.S. are the super rich.... who usually get that way by preying on ordinary American's.
00:52 January 11, 2010 by JoeSwede

I totally agree. Good post.
01:37 January 11, 2010 by Beynch
If Sweden is the most expensive country on God's green earth you can thank the Social Democrats who has taxed it down to the bare bone. In another place in today's edition you can read about a peroxide bleached blond who has her sights set on the prime ministership. You let her into government and she will start chewing on your bones too. Vote against the Social Democrats in September!
02:53 January 11, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
Are different areas of Sweden less expensive (Umea as opposed to Stolkholm) or is it pretty much the same everywhere?
06:58 January 11, 2010 by nledit

Huh? You're making 75% up. You write as if Swedes get health care, education, insurance, and public transportation for free. What's Sweden tax? (The real, not super inflated "tax")? Like 55%? I've yet to find an item at the grocery store that is even close to equal what it would cost in the States, usually double. I honestly don't understand how someone could live in the States and live in Sweden and say States is more expensive.
08:59 January 11, 2010 by Rick Methven
The whole thing is not if Sweden is better than the US it is about a stuff up in the stats that had Sweden's Cost of Living at 0 the highest and Iraq 100 - the cheapest.

Last year Sweden got a 37 for Cost of living. that means if this magazine is to be believed then the cost of living in Sweden has risen 37% in a year! I think that if that was true I just might have noticed it

The criteria that this oh so serious magazine lists for a country to be as good or better than the USA is:

So the criteria that the magazine requires for a good place to live is:

1. Buying Eye Drops at 3AM

2. Getting Dinner delivered to your door in less than 30 minutes

3.Shopping on a Sunday

4.Getting a Drivers Licence in less than 45 days
09:17 January 11, 2010 by nledit
@Rick Methven

hehe, exactly.. "...oh so serious magazine". Which is why I dont know why this is such a big deal. It would be different if this was put out by someone more serious.

Side note: doesnt mean that COL has risen 37%. This is an exaggerated example just to demonstrate.. but Sweden's COL could have risen 1% and the other 36 countries from last year could have fallen 5-10% or whatever it would take to get Sweden to most expensive.
13:48 January 11, 2010 by lianasmall
too many comments to read them all, but I just have to say I am shocked that France has the number one place. I have lived in France for two years, and while it is absolutely gorgeous with a rich culture, it is extremely difficult and frustrating to live in and in my opinion, the living standards are a bit too low. I definitely prefer it as a travel destination and not a home.
14:19 January 11, 2010 by reco73
you cannot compare living in Stockholm with living in Connecticut like some people are doing, one is a capital of a country the other a state in USA with not much happening there....

Also people on here saying that healthcare in the UK (NHS) is better and free look again at the number of cases of negligence, bad service, and conditions of british hospitals, told daily on UK newspapers. Also it's not free, as people pay NI tax, which for me was around £200 a month....

Having lived in NYC, London and Sweden, I can say that housing prices are a no brainer cheaper in Sweden...try checking what 2000000kr can get you in NYC or London!

Taxes are obviously higher in Sweden, but you get perks with it....an almost cost-free health care.....an almost cost-free education system....better jobless benefits etc etc..

Holidays- 27 days in Sweden, 25 days in UK, 15 days in USA (with sick days taken from it!!!!!).

Working hours. I worked 80 ours a week in USA, I worked 7 hours in UK, and I'm home by 5:30 in Sweden :)

Job security - fired at will in USA, 4 weeks notice in UK plus reduancy package, 4 weeks in Sweden....

forskolan- NYC - 900 dollares/month and endless problems with finding a spot in a good school, London - £1000 per month in central London, Sweden - 1200 kronors.....

Price of food- I'm only comparing a price of a package of a beef rump steak (sorry!!) 8 dollars in USA, £5 in UK, 60 kronors in Sweden...

price of a local beer on tap in a bar - £3.80 for a pint in UK, 7 dollars in USA, 50 Kronors Sweden

from my experiences, and not saying that I'm right or wrong in the USA you can get a higher wage, less cost on taxes, better availability and cheaper goods but you have the worry of being fired, paying health insurance, extremly high costs for children education not to mention the problems in choosing a good school.....and not much to fall on once you lose your job.

In the UK, housing prices are through the roof, NHS is a service I would avoid like the plague, high prices for dagis, food about the same as in Sweden..

In Sweden, cheap housing, good benefits given by goverment - bostadbidrag, foraldrar ledighet, A-kassa.....etc. Food prices same as rest of nothern Europe...cheap education, cheap healtcare.....better working conditions and pleanty of FIKA breaks! ;)
18:55 January 11, 2010 by nledit
Do you really think 50%+ taxes is cheap education and cheap healthcare? Honest question. College may be expensive in States, but for those who actually try can get that significantly paid for if not all of it. And, 50% taxes is something you pay for life. College is something you pay off in a couple years. I think in the end, the taxes is far more expensive than the college.

I've lived in the States, Sweden, and China (doesnt count, it's so cheap), but I have friends in both Sweden and USA that do the same jobs, and my sweden friends are struggling and my American friends are doing good. It's kinda confusing how in face to face conversations ALL of my Swedish friends say how expensive it is here, even compared to the States, but people posting here seem to try to make Sweden even or cheaper than the States! 2 of my friends just visited the States and said how they didn't pack but very few articles of clothes because it's so cheap to buy new there. That's crazy. Maybe I'm the exception to the rule.. I've never worried about being fired, i'd rather pay for my health insurance than 50% taxes, and I don't feel my kids have to go to an expensive private school to make a good life for themselves (ie: good free public school)...
20:31 January 11, 2010 by reco73
@nledit I'm not sure where you get this 50%+ tax, but i'm on a very good salary here in sweden and only pay 30% tax......?

I personally prefer to pay a higher tax and know that if I get fired for any reason I will still be able to have some kind of health service for me and my family.

Also, are you sure you would be able to pay your kids college within 2 years?
18:46 January 12, 2010 by elsamu
Hi there!

A Spaniard here. For those who say Spain is cheap, yeah, it is considering your salaries in your home country. Food, cinema, sun, smile, party, kindness (hell yes! not like in Sweden)... all that is true, but what about the accomodation? We have the most expensive prices of all Europe, so that means we have to stay home with our parents till we are 30, which is pretty normal nowadays. Rentals are similar to our European counterparts.

The government gave yougnsters an economical aid to promote house rentals and did you know what happened? Prices rised as those economical aids were given.

And does anyone know which is the average wage here?? BELOW 1000 €, most people earn between 600-900 euros per month working far more than 8h a day. And that happens in Madrid, which claims to be first-line city of the first-world.

So yeah, it may be cheap for you, for not for us (but compared to your countries it definitely is). I don't find Sweden as expensive as Norway or Denmark but I'd like to know what's the average wage in there guys.

Thanks in advance.


15:33 January 13, 2010 by Pigeons Can't Fly Without Wings.
I think this list is very questionable. Ridiculous to be honest, it is so clear that the did not get their facts right. Especially if they think that Norway is cheaper then Sweden, please explain to me why the Norwegians would cross the border and do their shopping in Sweden if it was more expensive?

@entry: The reason for LEGO products 'being cheaper' in the U.S. is that the prices on the website in USD is without the taxes, this gets added on when placing the order, how much depends on the state. In Europe all taxes are already added. In the end, the prices in the US are still a bit cheaper, this is down to the fact that the products for the American market are produced in either the US or Mexico, where material and labor is a lot cheaper then in Europe. All prices are also adjusted to the local markets, therefore it makes sense that it's a tad cheaper over there than in Sweden, who's products are made either in Denmark or Czech Republic.

@Mb65: Which world do you live in? If you seriously think that London is cheaper than Stockholm? Maybe you found a product which was, but you also have to take in to consideration that many people in London gets paid GBP 5.70 an hour or maybe between GBP 14000-17000 a year, BEFORE tax. A normal rent for a double bedroom is around GBP 160+ a WEEK. My travel card for zone 3-6 + the overground to my work costs me GBP 172 a month. In Stockholm I paid around SEK 670. My rent was SEK 5000 including EVERYTHING, and that was furnished. I was taxed 28% whilst here I am taxed 20% PLUS National Insurance PLUS Council Tax (if you rent an apartment). In Stockholm I paid between SEK 19-45 for a beer, here I pay minimum GBP 2.80. I paid around SEK 40 for my cigarettes, here I pay at least GBP 4.50. I paid SEK 45 for a large pizza where I lived, here it''s GBP 6.50 for a SMALL one. Electricity is more expensive, houses are too, plus that the standard of them are extremely poor in comparance, so is public transport. Now when snowing the council does nothing to clear it, no grit, no salt, no nothing. Pathetic. Think it might be time for you to pop over to London and get an update regarding the prices.
08:59 January 14, 2010 by reco73
@Pigeons Can't Fly Without Wings:

you're spot on about prices in UK and if we're comparing capital of countries, then prices in London.

I lived in central London and paid £800 rent per month for a 1 bedroom apartment say around 55sqm. that's about 9000 SEK, add on top of that water/gas/elec bills and council tax (which we don't have here in Sweden) and just for a place to live I was paying well over 10000 SEK, now for that price I could be living in Gamla Stan in STHLM!

With regards to taxes in the UK people pay their income tax + NI tax + all the hidden taxes on tobacco, alcohol, car insurance, car registration, public transport etc etc.

What people don't seem to understand is that yes we pay more income taxes in Sweden, but there aren't so many "hidden taxes" that people still have to pay like Council Tax on your apartment......and we also get more for that money in terms of public services which in the UK unfortunately you don't.

As for USA goods prices, yes there is that usually hidden addition of State tax to anything you buy, which in most cases is not show on the price tag but adds quite a wack to the total price....
17:33 March 8, 2010 by somethingbrite
I'm from London....and agree that property prices in London always seemed too high for me to afford.

I live in Sweden now...and I pay nearly 8000 SEK a month for a 1 bedroom apartment. Sure its a big apartment, sure its not in the total suburbs...but its not as cheap as you would expect it to be...could I live in Gamla Stan for that reco73? Send me a link to anywhere you find there as I would totally LOVE a Gamla Stan apartment!

There ARE countless benefits, the higher average salary, the social welfare system, the focus on looking after as much of society as you can...all of which I applaud and all of which I am happy to pay a higher rate of tax to maintain. No matter how crumbling the system is, the idea of a society that cares is a good one.

However, to argue against Sweden being expensive is fruitless. It IS. I travel A LOT, for work all over the Nordic region and Europe mainly. Sure, Norway is expensive also...as are Denmark and Finland. But Sweden sometimes takes the biscuit.

Somebody posted a comment about electronic goods above....well, in my nearly 10 years here I have always felt electronic goods to be more expensive here than any other place I visit/buy from. Its as true today as it was when i first came here. If I want a new PC...I look at prices in the UK....and cry.

Swedish r/etailers actually better wake up and smell the coffee....I can (and have) bought products in the UK (or Germany) and shipped them to Sweden and still saved money on the cheapest price I can find online from a Swedish retailer.

Example. - (today)


Product "X" £333 + £60 shipping (1 week, DHL to door) total = £392.10 (inlc Tax)


Product "X" 6530 SEK (including delivery)

A difference of £219 even after the shipping to Sweden has been factored in. On a £333 product!!!

Sweden is NOT cheap!!!
19:39 March 8, 2010 by mjennin2
1st of all Nemesis: I advise that next time you be more cautious about not embarrassing yourself. The hallmark of a culturally ignorant (or, at the very least, geocentrically insecure) person, is when they slam a country that is not their own. Way to make a baffoon of yourself.

What can we say, data will ALWAYS be disputed. I agree w/ one of the earliest responders when they said it would have been a little more palatable had Norway & DK at least been given a Cost of Living score in the low teens, as opposed to the high 30s, when Sweden received 0. It sounds like whoever was in charge of assigning that score was a little butt sore over a recent credit card bill after traveling to Sweden. Not fair, but neither is life.

But w/ all of that said, let's look at the COMMON SENSE facts: Sverige is very socialist = higher taxes. All things being held equal, it is also more expensive to import products there versus places like the USA, so overhead costs go up on products. My rule of thumb when I travel to Sweden is to kind of peg current costs to places like NYC & London. Not to say that a city like Sthlm has any of the pop culture perks of those places, but then again, we aren't comparing appples to apples here. London & NYC are expensive because they CAN be--supply & demand. Sthlm (Göteborg, Malmö, etc) is expensive because it MUST be--socialist gov't needs the revenue to support social systems, etc.

Further, as one responder very aptly put it, this is judging by USA standards. If you want to experience an AMERICAN lifestyle in Sweden, it will be much more expensive in Sweden than the USA. But do Swedes live like Americans? Heck no! We are talking about 2 completely different ways of life...the only thing that USA & SVE have in common is that, despite being 100% opposite, they are both equally enjoyable to travel to. Bottom line: if judging by USA standards, yes Sweden is expensive...just as it would be cheap for a Swede to travel to the US, judging by Swedish standards. But as they say, "When in Rome..." I think it all equals out in the end. This reminds me of that study that said Denmark was the "Happiest Place on Earth", but it wasn't necessarily b/c they were HAPPIER persay, but that they actually had "lower expectations" that were more easily met, making them to be more satisfied with their lot in life (here's the study: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/14/60minutes/main3833797.shtml). Everything is up to interpretation, & the bottom line is to be thankful for diversity in the world & learn to appreciate everything it has to offer, no matter how different (God forbid!) it is to what you are used to.

The US is not the devil, & Sverige should not be #30 on the list. But that's only if you find yourself to have a culturally-adjusted mind open enough to appreciate any country's pros & cons w/o being a complete moron (or...how did he put it? Bloody idiot?)


Swedish by blood, American by birth.
17:05 June 9, 2010 by Skjuludde
Ok now i'm coming in half a year after the article itself was published.

Sweden can be a pretty expensive place to live in, ofc as in everything mostly depending on where. Very high taxes makes it expensive to live too. And most that got everything good and have money will of course complain about that. But in Sweden we have tried to get something called moral and society and help everyone. Now that has really gone overboard and will even more if the socialists win next election.

Besides Sweden was named one of the countries that handled the financial crisis the best in Europe, and if not in the world. While UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany etc etc all have much bigger issues handling that.

I personally think the taxes could be lowered and still get a good and secure society. And with Moderaterna on the throne that will be a possibility.

Ohh and just to clarify, i mean no offence to United States or anything like that. Even tho i don't agree with the score. Actually i think it's an extremely unfair score.

But i myself will soon get the oppurtunity to find out how life in US is :)
20:04 June 9, 2010 by Raelien
Okey, i don't know if any1 has mentioned this before but the 10 posts i did read (due to so frikking many),

(how many is not swedish, and why is so many interested in our little country?)


Not many mentions the fact that even though taxes is high, we still have larger salarys, wagers than you, otherwise we wouldn't afford living here, simple fact! So just to make it simple for you, small wager equals low taxes/ big wager equals high taxes. And if we now compare the US system vs the swedish system, i think we can all agree they are eachothers opposites!

1. USA is made like a "free" country, the government owns nothing, while in sweden, the government owns pretty much everything.

2. To survive in USA you have to be succesfull, you pay for EVERYTHING on your own. In Sweden, you can survive without a job, thanks to the state taking care of you. And with our high tax, we get free school, free healthcare, and other stuff i take for granted right now and cant remember :P

So, two totally diffrent ways of living. Now that makes it quite interesting, which one is the best?

So far, Sweden isn't bankrupt, and we can afford to have hobbys and we are travelling to other countrys more than ever.

Can Americans say the same? From what we hear and see in the news (im not saying we should trust the news) is that lots of americans can't afford health care, have two jobs and still can't pay the "low taxes" - Now that would never happen in sweden, with only 1 job! we can afford our taxes. How many americans have a passport? 10% ive heard. In Sweden, EVERY ONE has a passport, not every one choose to travel abroad, but they know they can.

How many people cannot pay their bills ? How many lives on the street?

Thats a good way to measure a country, not by looking at prices and taxes, because that shows nothing about the country and people itselfs.

So what is good with the US system and bad with the swedish? I guess USA develops more inventive youths, more franchise, more small businesses etc etc. Your progress in those areas is staggering, and we thank you for all inventions over the years, they have made life in sweden quite paradise-like :P for us computer nerds anyway.

And for last, our system is a blend of capitalism and communism, we are neither and we are both, and it truly works. Just look at russia, their communism failed, and now look at your pure capitalism, it worked for a while but is now crumbling. The middle way is the right way. And we swedes have perfected this word "middle".
00:57 July 14, 2010 by nesses
I´m swedish. Currently I´m in Paris for two months, and I have lived in Norway for five years. My girlfriend has lived in Spain, France, London and travelled around in Africa and so on. We have friends all over the world, and yes, we do talk about living costs.

Those of you who actually cares to check things out, please do. Check the prices for apartments, say a 60 square meter apartment in central Stockholm, then compare it to Paris, London and Manhattan. It´s half the price. Even a lot less than that.

When I met a lot of americans on the train from Stockholm to Norway, while I was living there, they told that it was so expensive in Stockholm. I laughed and told them that they were in for a surprise. I would say, that on an average Norway is somewhat 30% more expensive. Food can be 100% more expensive, as well as beer and cars, which are almost exactly twice the price compare to Sweden.

Our friends here in Paris works their ass off. They have one scooter and one shared apartement. And think their two room apartment was about 450.000 euoros.

Friends that live downtown London pack themselves together in one room each in three our four room apartments and can have a total rental cost for the apartment easily from 1000 - 2000 euros per month. Even more.

My friends in Stockholm, that are couples, I would say have an average yearly income of about 80 to 100 000 euros per year. Some even more, some slightly less. And none of us have rich families, just normal university degrees, that many do in the swedish capitol.

To this is the price of an apartment, ours is 3 rooms 72 square meters just outside Stockholm city centre. My girlfriend walks to her job, which is located in the center of the city. We bought the apartment two years ago for 175 000 euros.

I have a car. A 2002, mint condition little cheap car. It looks, and runs, as a brand new car. It cost me 2000 euros to buy.

A beer is about 1 euro to buy. If youre at a restaurant a beer averages between 3.5 to 6 euros, at the most.

In Paris me and my girlfriend had a beer, close to the bastille, without checking the prices first, since we already knew what we normally pay in that area. The beer was 12 euros!

So come on, get a grip of the world. Travel, and have a look. Or use the internet to check prices.
01:33 July 14, 2010 by nessesas
I missed this part:

First things first. Here´s the list of the worlds most expensive countries according to Aneki:


In the list we can notice that Sweden is placed as number 14 and Oh, United States as number 13!

This says two things, most of you here don´t now what you´re talking about, and secondly, theres is not much difference amongst nations regarding living costs. Either you live in an expensive country as Norway, and then you earn more. Or you live in an inexpensive country, and you earn less.

Many people here really need to travel, and without a blindfold. Don´t take the most expensive thing you can see and compare it to what it costs in your own country. Try and use your brain a little bit more extensively.

What I´m saying is that the Norweigans last year, travelled across the border just to buy alcohol in Sweden for 100 000 000 euros. The Norwegians also buy a lot of property in Sweden, since it´s half price. And if you work in the big cities in Sweden, your income is almost exactly as high as a similar job in Norway. It´s mostly low educational work that has much higher sallaries than the Swedish similar ones.

All in all, each month, me and my friends enjoy free health care, free education, and have a lot of money left. So we travel, because we like it, and we can really afford it.

And what stupid person commented on Sweden not laying down fibre cables? Sweden has got one of the worlds best internet infrastructures. Which even caused whining from other nations when it came to competing in computer games online, that the Swedes would actually have some sort of advantage due to this.
14:02 August 30, 2011 by Delta Jordan
As an American I would hop on a plane and visit Sweden if it weren't for one problem...I have children. Plural. Four. Ever tried to book a flight for six people? So, you and your "partner" go jetting wherever you want, my husband, kids and I get in the minivan and DRIVE to our destinations.
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