Cost of Living in Sweden

The cost of living in Sweden is quite high and Stockholm, its capital city, is the most expensive place in the country. The average monthly income in Sweden is around 30,000 SEK, but it is often the case that in Stockholm salaries can be higher than in the rest of the country. However, many goods and expenses are higher there as well, especially the cost of housing.

Housing will take the biggest portion of an expat’s salary in Sweden. It’s good to anticipate that it could be about 30 percent. Most expats will find themselves in Stockholm and the positive thing is that expats may find that their salaries are a bit higher in Stockholm than in their countries of origin. If they are sponsored by their company to relocate, they may get a great deal of help in securing housing. Otherwise, it can be quite difficult and expensive to find and secure housing. It is easier and cheaper to live in Stockholm’s suburbs rather than the inner city, and as the standard of living is quite high in both areas, the suburbs are quite a nice option. 

After housing, goods such as food and clothing will account for a big part of an expat’s expenses. Alcohol and services, such as haircuts, are also quite expensive in Stockholm, even compared to the rest of the country. 

Cost of accommodation and utilities in Sweden

Accommodation in Sweden is quite expensive. A three-bedroom apartment in an upmarket location in the city in Stockholm can cost between 18,000 and 30,000 SEK per month, excluding utilities. However, prices decrease steeply once one goes outside the inner city area of Stockholm. 

Utilities can cost anywhere between 900 SEK and 1,500 SEK per month, while a high-speed internet connection will set someone back about 380 SEK per month. With certain deals, it may be possible to pay about 220 SEK with limited features. 

Transport costs in Sweden

Transport is expensive in Sweden. Petrol costs about 16 SEK per litre and expats could probably purchase a small car for about 200,000 SEK. 

A taxi ride from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to the city centre will cost around 550 SEK, while an express train will cost 280 SEK, and an express bus 100 SEK. 

A three-kilometre taxi ride within Stockholm will cost around 130 SEK and a subway ride can cost anywhere between 30 SEK and 50 SEK. Expats who want an all-day travel card that is valid on all public transport will have to part with 115 SEK. 

Expats can also purchase an SL travel card which makes public transport slightly more cost effective. With an SL card a 24-hour pass costs 115 SEK, a 72-hour pass costs 240 SEK and a seven-day pass costs 320 SEK. Children, students and senior citizens receive a discount. 

Cost of schooling in Sweden

The cost of education in Sweden is low if children attend a public school. In Stockholm, where there are many expat families compared to the rest of Sweden, there are quite a few international and private schools. These can be very expensive with annual tuition upwards of 55,000 SEK. 

Cost of food and clothing in Sweden

The cost of groceries in Sweden is high and eating out at restaurants even more so. The difference between Stockholm and most of the rest of the country is noticeable. An average weekly grocery shop for one person will cost around 650 SEK.

Clothing can be very expensive in Sweden, a pair of men’s branded jeans costs about 1,000 SEK and a women’s summer dress costs around 520 SEK. 

Cost of entertainment in Sweden

Eating out at restaurants in Sweden can take a big chunk out of one’s budget. Alcohol in Sweden is especially expensive as it is sold by a government-run monopoly called Systembolaget. An average-priced bottle of wine costs about 100 SEK and a bottle of local beer is around 50 SEK.

Cost of healthcare in Sweden

The good thing about high taxes in Sweden is that much of one’s healthcare needs are subsidised by the government. A large percentage of the cost of prescription medication and medical procedures and needs are taken care of. A visit to a doctor may cost around 200 SEK, or in some cases, even when seeing a specialist, free. 

Cost of living in Sweden chart 2017 (based on Stockholm)

(Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices)

Accommodation (average monthly rental)

Two-bedroom apartment in city centre

SEK 14,500

Two-bedroom apartment outside city centre

SEK 9,000

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

SEK 10

Cheese (500g)

SEK 47

Dozen eggs

SEK 28

White bread 

SEK 25

Rice (1kg)

SEK 28

Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

SEK 58

Public transportation

City centre bus/train fare

SEK 38

Taxi rate per km

SEK 15

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

SEK 70

Coca Cola (330ml)   

SEK 22


SEK 35

Bottle of beer

SEK 55

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

SEK 350


Internet uncapped ADSL per month

SEK 320

Electricity (average per month for standard household)

SEK 1,250