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. However, it is often the case that in Stockholm salaries can be higher than in the rest of the country. 

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 overall. 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, expats may get a great deal of help in securing 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 in Sweden

Accommodation in Sweden is quite expensive. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment in an upmarket location in Stockholm can be exorbitant. However, prices generally decrease steeply once one goes outside the inner city area of Stockholm. 

Transport costs in Sweden

Transport is expensive in Sweden. Expats living close to the city are unlikely to need a car due to the excellent and extensive public transport network. This can be a pricey option, but is generally cheaper than owning and maintaining a car. 

Expats can purchase an SL travel card which makes public transport slightly more cost-effective. These cards have passes ranging from 24-hours to one week. Children, students and senior citizens will often 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 what most families can afford.

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 require a minimal co-payment, or in some cases, even when seeing a specialist, can be free. 

Cost of living chart

(Prices are for Stockholm in September 2018. Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider)

Accommodation (average monthly rental)

Two-bedroom apartment in city centre

SEK 15,500

Two-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

SEK 10,000

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

SEK 11

Cheese (500g)

SEK 45

Dozen eggs

SEK 28

White bread 

SEK 23

Rice (1kg)

SEK 25

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

SEK 62

Public transportation

City centre bus/train fare

SEK 36

Taxi rate per km

SEK 15

Eating out

Medium fast-food meal

SEK 80

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

SEK 21


SEK 36

Bottle of beer

SEK 17

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

SEK 350


Internet uncapped ADSL per month

SEK 295

Utilities (average per month for a standard household)

SEK 780

Corinne Pearce Our Expat Expert

Corinne is an American, from California, who came to Sweden to get her masters degree from Lund University. She fell in love with the country and once she graduated decided to stay, and moved to Stockholm for a job. Living in such a beautiful city surrounded by so many friends makes it easier to be far away from family and friends and all the sun in California.

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