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Swedes enjoy four decades of prosperity

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Swedes enjoy four decades of prosperity
16:51 CEST+02:00
While Swedish households have seen their wealth grow in the past four decades, many Swedes have seen their debts increase as well, according to new figures.

Swedish banking giant Swedbank has compared the changes in the financial situation of Swedish households over the last 40 years, looking at incomes, assets and consumption.

According to the study, consumption per person has doubled, but families today are paying less for food and more for accommodation.

The study also showed that a family with two kids today has twice as much money left over after bills and essential expenditure have been paid.

Swedes have also added one week of additional holiday time since 1970 and they work fewer hours per week, according to the study.

Salaries have risen as well, with a pay increase for manual workers rising by an inflation-adjusted 35 percent, while white-collar professions saw their pay rise by 52 percent through 2009.

The improvement to the financial situation of Swedish households has mainly taken place during the last 15 years, however, following the banking crisis of early 1990s.

Child allowance is one of the benefits that have increased during the last four decades while many other social insurance bemefits have decreased or disappeared.

Household wealth is 17 percent higher today than it was 40 years ago, but is very unevenly spread, according to the study.

Average wealth is now 610,000 kronor ($95,000) per person but the median wealth is 60,000 kronor, according to Swedbank's figures.

Many Swedes have no savings at all.

And over the last four decades Swedish households' debt has also risen dramatically, especially mortgages.

During this time, the price of a detached house has increased by 1,180 percent, or a more modest 110 percent if inflation is taken into account.

According to Swedbank the shortage of housing alone can't account for rising home prices, as they have risen independent of inflation.

Moreover, the study showed that prices have risen across the country, even in areas where there is available accommodation.

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