When it comes to choosing a place to live abroad, we all know the Scandinavian countries have it made. The standard of living is high, upper education is subsidized and everyone seems to have a job and a nice living situation. But all of this comes at a price; it’s called taxes.
Sweden has long been known for its high taxes, the highest in the world in fact. But Denmark recently beat out it’s northern neighbor for first place according to Danish newspaper Dagbladet Børsen (a daily business and finance paper). Based on a figure giving by tax authorities in both countries, the Danes have the highest tax burden in the world at 48.4%, compared to the 47.8% that Swedes pay. As an interesting side note, Swedish and Danish salaries are paid in krona and krone; both countries still use their own currencies instead of the euro.
Although the percentages for taxes may seem high for those of us that don’t live in more socialized countries, the Scandinavians certainly aren’t feeling an economic burden; the standards of living in these countries is quite high. In the most recent United Nations Human Development Index, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden were all ranked in the top 15. Add to that government structures that provide for universal health care and paying near 50% for taxes seems to make a little more sense. Health care, Volvos, vikings, IKEA and moose; who wouldn’t want to live there?