Happy Nations #7: Sweden

Here is how Sweden compares to the United States in each of the six factors for Happiness:

  • GDP: 1.920 v 1.982
  • Social Support: 1.204 v 1.182
  • Healthy Life Expectancy: 0.803 v 0.628
  • Freedom to Make Life Choices: 0.724 v 0.574
  • Generosity: 0.218 v 0.220
  • Perceptions of Corruption: 0.512 v 0.177

Our second Scandanavian country shows its dominance. They are falling behind slightly in GDP but streaking ahead in perceptions of corruption.

Other Scoring Systems

Sweden edges ahead of Norway in many categories. Of course, Sweden’s enterprise conditions hold it back in some of the rankings, but that is not of significant concern to me.

Health Care

Healthcare in Sweden is decentralized – responsibility lies with the regional councils and, in some cases, local councils or municipal governments.

Sweden ranks #21 in quality of healthcare and #10 in Global Health Security.

There are complaints from the Swedes about privatization and cost versus quality of care. However, overall the system is effective and positive.


Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and has a quarter of the country’s population. The next two largest cities are Malmö and Gothenburg, which are further south with slightly warmer temperatures.

Stockholm is very similar to Oslo, Norway. However, there is less rain and significantly less snow. Closer to St. Louis instead of Syracuse.

Cost of Living

Sweden is less expensive to live in than the United States.

Comparing Saint Louis, MO, to Stockholm, we see it will cost 1.9% less to live in Stockholm.


Swedish is the official language of Sweden. However, 80% of Swedes speak English and Sweden is the #8 country in English proficiency.

Acceptance of Others

Sweden reports one of the highest percentages of native-born who interact at least once a week with immigrants, either in the workplace (48%) or neighboring Swedes (59%).

This study shows that Swedes’ attitudes toward immigration and ethnic diversity have become more positive. However, attitudes are still negative compared to the results before 2016. The refugee influx in 2015 seems to have affected the currently observed trends.

Sweden appears to be above the EU average for favorable treatment of LGBT+ individuals.

Moving Feasibility

A residence permit is required if you stay over 90 days in Sweden.

The only residence permit that may apply to us would be “starting a business.” Non-Europeans must have a work permit to live in Sweden. And to get a work permit, you must first have a job offer.


Sweden and Norway are very similar and, unfortunately, may be difficult to move to if we were willing to endure the weather.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *