The consistency with which Sweden ranks highly amongst the world’s ratings for quality living standards is in jeopardy, following the publication of a new index which suggests it is the most expensive country on earth to live in.
Sweden has a proud history in quality of life indices and usually features in world rankings in the top ten, such as the UN Human Development Index where it has placed 7th for the past two years.
However, a recent survey by International Living magazine titled Quality of Life Index 2010 has placed Sweden in 30th from the total of 200 countries rated. The index awarded Sweden a zero for the cost of living component – making it the only country on the list to record no points. The segment makes up 15 percent of the total weighting and brought down the final placing significantly. Nordic neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland scored far more impressively in the category, with 33, 39 and 39 points respectively. All three ranked higher than Sweden in the final tally which was headed by France.
The Local, which covered the report, contacted the US office of International Living 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,” according to Suzan Haskins. “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.” Haskins added that the data used for the index was compiled from the World Bank, economists and government sources.