• Sweden's news in English

Stockholm swells with millionaire men

TT/David Landes · 21 Jan 2010, 16:40

Published: 21 Jan 2010 16:40 GMT+01:00

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Nearly 39,000 people between the ages of 20 and 64 had incomes of more than one million kronor in 2008, according to Statistics Sweden (SCB).

And 86 percent of them were men.

On average, seven out of every 1,000 Swedes brings home seven-figure pay checks each year. But in the posh Stockholm suburb of Danderyd, almost one in ten people earn at least one million kronor per year.

Other Stockholm-area municipalities with a higher than average percentage of million-kronor earners include Lidingö (6 percent), Täby (4.5), Nacka (3.4), Sollentuna (3.1), Vaxholm (2.7), and Eckerö (2.2), according to a complete table of figures published in the Dagens Industri newspaper.

And while Stockholm proper has a slightly lower percentage of millionaire earners, 1.8 percent, measured in absolute numbers the Swedish capital has by far the highest number of residents with seven-figure incomes.

All told, Stockholm is home to almost a quarter of Sweden’s top earners – 9,287 – more than three times the number found in Gothenburg (2,461), and nearly nine times more than Malmö (1,052).

Two other municipalities in southern Sweden are also among those with the highest percentage of people earning more than one million kronor per year, with Lomma boasting 3 percent and Vellinge 2.7 percent.

Meanwhile, in the municipalities of Bjurholm, Norsjö, Malå, Sorsele, Dorotea, Vilhelmina and Arvidsjaur – all in northern Sweden – and Gullspång in central Sweden, not a single seven-figure-earner is to be found.

The statistics also revealed a three-fold increase in the number of million-kronor earners in Sweden between 1999 and 2008 when measured in current prices and a two-fold increase when measured in constant prices.

Story continues below…

Despite the increase in high earners, there are still many more Swedes – 204,000 or 3.8 percent of the population – who didn’t earn a single krona in 2008, according to SCB.

The median income in Sweden in 2008 was 252,900 kronor, with the corresponding figure for men, 286,900 kronor, more than 25 percent higher than women’s median income of 225,000 kronor.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:04 January 21, 2010 by krigeren
This statistic hides a great deal of wealth.

Anyone who owns their own company keeps most of the income in the company and in their personal books.

Its unfortunate too...because this story makes the Swedish rich look very poor by international standards which is not really the case (although somewhat).

The Swedish measure shows the top half percent of earners.

In the US the top half percent earn about three times as much or around $400,000 dollars a year.

Sweden...land of the poor little rich kids (tongue in cheek).
20:01 January 21, 2010 by reason
Are these figures before or after taxes?

If a person earns a million, the state gets a million and a half (60%).
20:22 January 21, 2010 by krigeren

Its before tax..its not 60%. It would be calculated as follows (2009).

30.00% from SEK 0.00 up to SEK 380'200,

50.00% from SEK 380'200 up to SEK 538'800,

55.00% over SEK 538'800.

So on 1,000,000 SEK before deductions (which are only about 25,000 or so for this income level ) the taxes would be 447,000. Minus the 25,000 or about 422,000 or 42%.

The same level of income in the US would be about 20 to 30% off the top of my head.

So, the "millionaire" is left over with 580,000 SEK or a paycheck of 48,000 SEK a month. Which in dollars is about $7000 a month.

In any case the so called millionaire is still just a working stiff like anyone else....barely breaching the realm of upper middle class.

Aim Higher...For the love of all things holy...Aim Higher.
20:24 January 21, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Sure you can be a millionaire in Stockholm, but, if you pay millions out in taxes, does that make you a "tax millionaire"?
20:44 January 21, 2010 by Beynch
How long will it be before an apopleptic lefty, in a tizzy of sputtering rage, injects well rehearsed socialist invective so that we all are supposed to be aghast over the fact that there are successful people in Sweden? Spewing their SSU venom over the Alliance, and that we all must ensure a socialist landslide in September? Where are you red/greens, and other communist trash?
21:08 January 21, 2010 by krigeren
@Beynch I had a good chuckle. Thanks.
21:15 January 21, 2010 by reason

Don't forget 'arbetsgivaravgift'. For you to have one million left after taxes costs your employer over 2.5 million (if you live in Stockholm, in many places it's more depending on the kommunalskatt). Here's a handy calculator: http://www.ekonomifakta.se/sv/Fakta/Skatter/Rakna-pa-dina-skatter/Rakna-ut-din-skatt/
21:33 January 21, 2010 by Gwrhyr
I'm a Green and I don't care what you earn, Beynch.
01:32 January 22, 2010 by repat_xpat
Good data kirgeren. Thanks.

That is about what my taxes were when I lived in Sweden (I made over 1Mk per year).

$7000 is an average experienced engineer's salary in the US (after taxes). From my experience, I would suggest that a single engineer in the US has about the same disposable income as two engineers in Sweden. Swedish taxes are the difference, the Swedish engineers cost is about the same as a US engineer, but their salary is the less (pre-salary taxes). And, yes, health care costs are included in the comparison. The two still cost about the same.
05:12 January 22, 2010 by JoeSwede
I think it is biased to look at earnings per person and not by couple/family. Typical view of that makes the data look more disperse than it would be otherwise. Many of the men who earn over one million kronor are probabl living with a partner who earn much less but keep the relationship going. Whether one makes a lot and the other little or both make about the same...does it matter?

Some in Sweden are proud of the lack of big income dispersion but if only the Wallenbergs, the owners of H & M and Abba own all the wealth then do they have the capital needed for starting companies that will compete with the world.

I guess that's ok. The government will take care of everything...
07:52 January 22, 2010 by Temeraire
It's funny how all the comments are directed at the fact how much in taxes these millionaires pay, and now why they choose to live there etc. US/Capitalist mentality.

US should learn a thing or two from Sweden.
09:18 January 22, 2010 by krigeren

Thanks for link to the calculator. The calculator is only half right.

Yes. I agree 61,237 SEK goes to taxes. However, if you multiply the take home income (about 48,500 SEK times twelve and then use it as a percentage of the overall tax you pay you are "ONLY" paying 42% in income taxes and taking home 58%.

I completely agree with you that the employer taxes are much too high as well. For a pure employee that's something they don't have to worry about but for people, like me, who are self employed...yes..you are so correct we end up paying an inordinate amount of the profits in tax..so we have to keep money in the company and pay ourselves low salaries.

Good Stuff but in a Bad Way ;-)




Many Swedes who are well educated do leave. Its not about a capitalist mentality its about a talent mentality. I think Swedes who are talented should become wealthy if they are capable of doing so.

The socialist mentality has held this country back. The socialist mentality was built up as a parasite on the industrialists and industry that was booming LONG BEFORE the social democrats ever came to power. Sweden had such a competitive advantage in the early part of last century it really did not matter what government was in power.

However now, after 8 decades of socialism with very rare breaks in power the country has convinced a lot of talent to leave, a lot of the wealth to leave, and now Sweden must become friendly to business and talent if it expects its people to maintain the same and increasing high standards of living it is used to...but is currently in a state of decay.

I don't think Sweden has to go as far as the US to learn a few things. It can go to the EU-15 countries and see that governments are about half the size in relation to jobs that are dependent upon it. It can go to Denmark where there is flexicurity and the unemployment levels are half as much as in Sweden.

Sweden can go to Toronto as an example of multi-culturalism working whereas, in Sweden some "ethnic neighborhoods" have unemployment rates exceeding 70%.

Sweden has a lot of good things going for it however, it also has a lot of bad things going for it at the same time. Keep the good and fix the bad.
13:21 January 22, 2010 by Love-refugee
There are probably more than 40,000 Swedes earning 1 million sek living in London (to escape the Swedish taxes)!

I have worked for a couple of international companies and Swedish-based employees were paid less than the equivalent counterparts in other European offices. Despite the reality that the Swedes were taxed more! Makes no sense.
01:31 January 23, 2010 by repat_xpat

Clear thinking and articulate! I enjoy your input and will watch for more.
04:20 January 23, 2010 by JoeSwede
Thank you Local for the interesting article. Is the lack of rich Swedes the key to its success or a harbinger of bad things to come?
14:53 January 24, 2010 by Marc the Texan
My ex would get her name published in the paper every year because she was considered to be one of the wealthiest. One year even an article saying if you want to marry rich here are the names of the richest single girls. Needless to say, I felt slighted since we were living together at the time.
15:30 January 24, 2010 by Jan M
A large wealth divide is bad news. Swedish law enforcement won't be able to protect them all.
05:53 January 25, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
I wonder if there is a margin of error built in the statistics to account for black money, which would totally debunk the simple, un-exciting everyman figures kirgeren laid out!
10:37 January 25, 2010 by krigeren

Well...above board the figures are very hidden as most wealthy Swedes keep their assets in their companies or trusts.

In regards to the black market I am not so sure.

However, the gray market is alive and well...people will start organizations...everyone and their brother has an organization of some kind here, and that allows for various support and tax deductions as well..depending upon the type of organization.
09:58 January 26, 2010 by slickphilly
$139,000 before tax is not a lot especially before tax and considering the purchasing power in sweden. i'm amazed that there are so few who make more than a million sek a year. where is john galt?
23:35 January 26, 2010 by texasgubbar
"So on 1,000,000 SEK before deductions (which are only about 25,000 or so for this income level ) the taxes would be 447,000. Minus the 25,000 or about 422,000 or 42%.

The same level of income in the US would be about 20 to 30% off the top of my head. "

Yes for US income tax alone but you are not including SS payrole tax, state income tax, real estate tax. When you include those the total get closer to %40. Then throw in health insurance costs, college costs if you are in that group and the forces saving required for some type of retirement and the total is at least %50. (not including those who are fortunate enough to have company provided health care and pension)

Also based on the high values of Swedish apartments this figure is not possible.
05:29 January 30, 2010 by repat_xpat
texas, you must be missing something. When I lived in Sweden my Swedish tax was more than my US income. That didn't include the 25% VAT. The State tax was 30%, the local tax was 30% and the VAT was 25%. The total was 85% (this does not include the gas and other special taxes in Sweden). Swedish taxes are darn near criminal. The Swedish tax burden and the US tax burden are not even close.
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