The Cost of Living in Sweden: A Complete Guide

The cost of living in Sweden might be one of the first things you consider when determining whether to move to this Scandinavian country. Life in Sweden offers a host of benefits to potential expats, from a huge range of job opportunities to a phenomenal culture. 

In 2022, the Best Countries in the World listing from US News & World Report even ranked Sweden as the number 1 country worldwide for quality of life. 

Not only does Sweden out-perform many other countries in terms of education, health, and work life balance, but it could be more affordable than you’d think too. Although the cost of living in Sweden is about 1.45 times higher than the world average, average salaries are higher too. 

After taxes, most Swedes earn around $2812 per month, which covers all of their expenses for around 1.9 months. Here’s everything you need to know about the cost of living in Sweden. 

Is Life in Sweden Expensive? 

The cost of living in Sweden can seem a little high. With rent included, an average person will spend around $1479 per month or 22,032 KR on everyday expenses. However, your exact cost of living will vary depending on a number of factors, including where you want to live. 

Sweden is one of the cheapest Nordic countries overall, with lower average costs than Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark. It also offers a lower cost of living than France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Plus, consumer prices for products are about 13% lower in Sweden than in the US. 

Your cost of living in Sweden will naturally increase if you choose to live in one of the most expensive cities, such as:

  • Stockholm: Sweden’s capital has a higher cost of living than the rest of the country, but consumer prices are still 28% lower than they are in New York. This percentage increases to 45% if you take rent into consideration too. 
  • Solna: One of Sweden’s fastest-growing cities, Solna attracts plenty of businesses and investors. It’s also home to famous sites like the Angso National Park and various royal palaces, making it a little more expensive for residents. 
  • Gothenburg: As the second-largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg also has a slightly higher cost of living. However, it’s also one of the world’s most sustainable cities, and is home to a range of attractions, such as an amusement park and botanical gardens.

Alternatively, if you choose a slightly smaller city, such as Umea, a small university town, or Orebro, a mid-sized city between Gothenburg and Stockholm, your cost of living prices will be between 20-30% lower. 

Sweden Cost of Living Prices: Housing

The price of Housing in Sweden varies depending on your location. For a family of four, the average rent in Sweden is about $1278 per month (in USD). Alternatively, a one-bedroom apartment in Stockholm city center can cost a lot more, ranging from around $1,267 to $1,549 per month

If you choose to live outside of the city center, rent prices will usually drop drastically. A one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs will cost around $900 per month. In rural areas, three-bedroom homes can be available for as little as $1400-$1750 per month.

Keep in mind, when you’re planning on living in Sweden, you’ll need to think about more than just rental costs, or the price of owning a home. There are also utility bills to consider. Heating, electricity, water, and other standard utility costs can vary depending on your supplier and the size of your home. 

In Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, the rental market is dynamic due to its growth and universities. Demand often surpasses supply, resulting in competitive rates, especially in central areas. While some residents wait years in the city’s unique queue system for first-hand contracts, others opt for pricier, short-term second-hand rentals or sublets. All rentals, whether first-hand or second-hand, require a keen understanding of tenant rights and contract stipulations. It’s vital to understand local regulations when seeking a rental in Gothenburg.

Food and Entertainment Costs in Sweden

The price of food and entertainment in Sweden can also vary depending on where you live. Most people spend around 800 SEK or about $72 monthly on groceries. Many products can be extremely cheap. For instance, 12 eggs in Sweden will cost around $3.90. Alternatively, a pound of beef can cost as little as $6.50. Even a mid-range bottle of wine will only cost around $8.50 to $10.50. 

If you’re interested in going out for lunch, most basic lunchtime menus will cost around $11 for a meal, while fast food restaurants charge about $8.50 for a combo meal. A full three-course meal at a nice restaurant can cost between $68 and $85 per person. 

One great way to save money when eating out is to check out some local Swedish food trucks. These outdoor dining carts often sell a range of great meals for a low cost. In terms of entertainment, you can expect to pay around $12.50 to $15 for a movie ticket. 

One point worth noting is a night on the town may cost you more in Sweden than it would elsewhere, with draught beers averaging between $6 and $7.30 each. 

Medical Costs in Sweden

Sweden has an excellent decentralized healthcare system. Each region of the country is responsible for overseeing its own healthcare resources, and getting medical attention in Sweden is often much cheaper than in the US. The government even places a cap on out-of-pocket payments for healthcare at $105 over a 12-month period. 

All residents, including foreigners and expats in Sweden, have access to the healthcare system. However, to register, you will need to get a residence permit and a Swedish tax ID number. Using these resources, you can sign up at your local healthcare center. Since getting your tax ID number can take a couple of weeks, you’ll need to make sure you have international health insurance. 

Visitors from the EU with a European Health Insurance Card can also use the public healthcare service without an ID for medical emergencies. Sweden also offers private healthcare options, which can offer access to faster service, however, the price can vary. 

Swedish Transportation Costs

You can cycle and walk around various parts of Sweden for free, and it’s a great way to take in some of the sights. However, public transportation is also a popular choice. Busses are probably the most common way to get around the city, with fares for one direction averaging about $3-$4. 

Depending on where you are in the country, however, you might be able to explore ferries, subways, or trams. Many people who use public transport regularly purchase monthly passes which usually cost around $72 to $80. 

To move between regions in the countries or different cities, you might need to pay for more long-haul transport fees on both trains and busses. Busses tend to be the cheapest option, although the train network is larger and often provides more frequent departures. Intercity train prices usually average between $100 and $125 for a ticket. 

Other Costs to Consider When Living in Sweden

Outside of all of the cost of living considerations mentioned above, there are a few other factors you might want to think about. The good news is the public school system in Sweden is free for both primary and secondary school students. The cost of university education for both local and international students is relatively low too. 

Depending on where you are in Sweden, you can spend around $2,397 to $2,930 per child on private schooling for expats and international families. 

Here are some other “average prices” for things you might need in Sweden:

  • Daycare or Preschool: $131 per month
  • Hair cuts or salon visits: $23.80 per session
  • Gym memberships: $37.80 per month
  • Petrol or gas: $1.97 per liter
  • Internet plan: $30.60 per month

Is the Cost of Living in Sweden Worth It?

The cost of living in Sweden isn’t as low as it might be elsewhere in the world, but it’s not as high as it could be either. Sweden is one of the most affordable countries in Scandinavia, and it also happens to be one of the happiest places on earth. 

Cheaper than most of its neighboring countries, Sweden offers an excellent quality of life without much expense to worry about. If you’re thinking of moving to Scandinavia, Sweden could be the bes option for you and your family.

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