Cost of living in Sweden: Your guide

Zorica Lončar
19.10.20
6 minute read

There are many reasons to move to Sweden, from affordable healthcare, free university education and generous workplace benefits. The country regularly features in the top 10 of the World Happiness Report.¹

Whether you’re temporarily relocating, retiring or moving there permanently, it’s essential to get to grips with the cost of living in Sweden so you can plan and budget. It can be quite different from what you’re used to, especially when it comes to understanding the currency.

In this guide, we’ll look at the average prices in Sweden for things like housing, meals, healthcare, transportation and more. We’ll also explain how you can make your money go further with a smart multi-currency account from TransferWise.

Learn more about TransferWise

So let’s get started.

The currency in Sweden

The currency in Sweden is the Swedish krona or SEK – you may also see it written with ‘kr’ after a price.

A big part of managing your money in Sweden is understanding value. To help, here’s a glance at the value of the SEK compared to other major world currencies, at the time of research:

  • $1000 = 8803.67 SEK
  • £1000 = 11435.10 SEK
  • €1000 = 10395.80 SEK
  • A$1000 = 6361.48 SEK

Need to work out the exact worth of your money, without having to do it in your head? Use an online currency converter.

And if you do need to change GBP or any other currency into SEK, choose where you do it very carefully. You don’t always get the best exchange rates at banks and money exchange services, as they often add an expensive mark-up on top. What you need to be looking for is the ‘real’, mid-market exchange rate – more on that here.

Get the real, mid-market exchange rate with TransferWise

Now, if you do want to get the very most SEK from every GBP, it’s a smart idea to use TransferWise. It isn’t a bank, it has no monthly fees and you’re guaranteed to get the real, mid-market exchange rate on every single transaction.

From your free TransferWise Borderless account, you can manage 50+ currencies all from the same account. Send, spend, receive money and switch between currencies whenever you need to, with low, transparent fees.

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Cost of living in Sweden compared to the UK

According to Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index by Country 2020, Sweden is the 23rd most expensive place to live in the world.²

But how does it compare to major UK cities in terms of living costs such as rent, transport and restaurant meals? Let’s take a look.

Comparing basic cost of living1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)Meal for 2 (mid-range restaurant, three courses)Transportation (monthly pass)
London, UK³£1,729.49£60.00£150.00
Manchester, UK⁴£823.62£60.00£69.78
Edinburgh, UK⁵£805.14£60.00£56.00
Stockholm, Sweden⁶£1,139.32£69.78£81.12
Gothenburg, Sweden⁷£884.32£69.78£67.60
Malmö, Sweden⁸£717.32£54.95£47.97

Major cities in Sweden

The main cities in Sweden in terms of population are Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

Stockholm is the capital, as well as being the political, cultural and economic heart of the country. It’s a thriving city with a fantastic art, culture and food scene, as well as being one of the cleanest capital cities in the world.

Both multicultural, quirky Gothenburg and green, maritime Malmö are more compact and walkable cities compared to Stockholm. They also offer a lower cost of living in Sweden.

What are general living expenses like in Sweden?

Aside from Sweden’s rent prices, what other living costs do you need to know about ahead of your big move?

Here’s how much you can expect to pay per month as a single person, or a family, living in one of Sweden’s major cities:

Total living expenses in Stockholm⁶Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)£800.35
4 person family, per month (without rent)£2990.91
Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment£63.22
Total living expenses in Gothenburg⁷Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)£730.51
4 person family, per month (without rent)£2724.50
Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment£50.96
Total living expenses in Malmö⁸Average cost
1 person, per month (without rent)£689.70
4 person family, per month (without rent)£2754.50
Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment£47.56

What are the average salaries in Sweden?

Now that you have an idea of prices in Sweden for things like housing, transportation and utilities, it’s time to look at how much you could earn.

Here are the average salaries for a range of different jobs in Stockholm and Gothenburg:

Salary averages for Stockholm⁹Average salary
Accountant£46,984
IT manager£42,734
Web designer£38, 944
Sales manager£36,663
Graphic designer£35,247
Teacher£29,022
Salary averages for Gothenburg¹⁰Average salary
Accountant£36,346
IT manager£37,256
Web designer£42, 985
Sales manager£51,546
Graphic designer£27,931
Teacher£31,095

How expensive is housing and accommodation in Sweden?

So, how much will it cost you to rent a home in Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö, and how far will your money get you in terms of space? Let’s take a look at average Sweden rent prices.

Rental cost in Stockholm¹¹Average monthly cost
Large apartment£1,537.20
Medium apartment£1,229.76
Small apartment£999.18
Rental cost in Gothenburg¹²Average monthly cost
Large apartment£1,076.04
Medium apartment£922.32
Small apartment£737.86
Rental cost in Malmö¹³Average monthly cost
Large apartment£999.18
Medium apartment£768.60
Small apartment£591.82

What about healthcare and dental costs in Sweden?

Sweden’s highly regarded healthcare system is open to everyone, whether you’re a resident or not. It’s a mostly decentralised system, where healthcare is run by regional councils.

Healthcare in Sweden isn’t free, but the costs are reasonable compared to some other countries in Europe. You can expect to pay between £9.60 and £19.20 for a visit to the doctor, with hospital stays charged at around £10.50 per day and specialist appointments costing up to £35.¹⁴

If you’re under 20, you won’t pay anything for healthcare in Sweden.¹⁴

If you’re planning to stay in Sweden for a year or more, you’ll need to get yourself a Swedish tax identification number in order to access public healthcare.¹⁴

How much are travel and transportation costs in Sweden?

Most people in major cities such as Stockholm use train and metro services, with monthly passes costing around £81. But nearly 20% use cars, and a further 20% travel around the city by bus. ¹⁵

Car use in Gothenburg is much higher, with around 40% choosing it as their main transport method.¹⁶

Meanwhile in more compact cities like Malmö, most people (just over 30%) get around by walking.¹⁷

In terms of travelling between Swedish cities and nationwide, you’ll find the public transport system to be well organised, reliable, affordable and easy to navigate.

Study costs in Sweden

Sweden has a number of well-regarded universities and higher education institutes. The Karolinska Institute in Solna is ranked 45th in the world, followed by Stockholm University at 69th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020 by ShanghaiRanking.¹⁸

Higher education in Sweden is currently free for EU residents (although Brexit may affect this).¹⁹ For overseas students, fees at the Karolinska Institute, for example, start at around £14,417 per year.²⁰

Send money to and from Sweden with the real, mid-market exchange rate

Sweden is undoubtedly more expensive than the UK in many areas. This is why it’s extra important to manage your money carefully if you’re planning a move there.

Make sure you get the most from every penny by using handy, money-saving services such as TransferWise.

It’s particularly useful if you want to send money back home, or to friends and family living in different countries. You can whizz money across the world from your multi-currency account with tiny, transparent fees and of course, the real, mid-market exchange rate. You could save a small fortune compared to using your bank.

So that’s it – we’ve covered pretty much everything you need to know about the cost of living in Sweden. You know roughly how much it’ll cost you to rent an apartment, eat out and get around, along with study and transport costs.

Lycka till! (good luck!)

Join TransferWise for free

Sources:

  1. World Happiness Report 2020
  2. Numbeo - cost of living index by country
  3. Numbeo - cost of living in London
  4. Numbeo - cost of living in Manchester
  5. Numbeo - cost of living in Edinburgh
  6. Numbeo - cost of living in Stockholm
  7. Numbeo - cost of living in Gothenburg
  8. Numbeo - cost of living in Malmo
  9. Teleport - salaries for Stockholm
  10. Teleport - salaries for Gothenburg
  11. Teleport - cost of living in Stockholm
  12. Teleport - cost of living in Gothenburg
  13. Teleport - cost of living in Malmo
  14. Inter Nations - healthcare in Sweden
  15. Numbeo - traffic in Stockholm
  16. Numbeo - traffic in Gothenburg
  17. Numbeo - traffic in Malmo
  18. Shanghai ranking of world universities
  19. Study in Sweden - fees and costs
  20. Ki.se - tuition fees

All sources checked on October 13, 2020


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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