‘Sweden world’s most expensive country’: index

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

'Sweden world's most expensive country': index

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’ve talked to the editor who compiled the results and it is not a mistake,” said Haskins.

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

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What makes a northern Swedish town of 1,000 a great place to live?

The small town of Sorsele in Swedish Lapland has been rated as the best small town in Sweden for local amenities by a new study.

What makes a northern Swedish town of 1,000 a great place to live?
Would you want to live here, in Sorsele? Photo: Anna Simonsson/SvD/TT

Property and housing magazine Hem & Hyra looked at the total number of service points, including grocery stores, pharmacies, schools, ATMs, and petrol stations, and measured which towns had the highest number of facilities per capita.

Sorsele, a town otherwise known for its hiking and skiing opportunities, came top of all 2,011 “urban areas” in the country. It’s the main town in the municipality of the same name, home to part of the huge Vindelfjällens Nature Reserve.

It boasts a high school, three grocery stores, doctor’s office, and a branch of the alcohol monopoly Systembolaget. All in all, it counts 17.1 amenities per 1,000 residents, more than anywhere else in Sweden.

Also available in Sorsele (but not included as service points for the purpose of the study) are a hardware store, bakery, florist, and grill restaurant, but no dentist and no bank after its last bank branch closed in May of this year.

“We are pretty good but some parts are missing. We have no clothes shop. But we have just enough,” Kjell Öjeryd, the chairman of the municipal board, told the magazine.

A total of 1,113 people lived in Sorsele at the end of 2020, according to Statistics Sweden.