With many beautiful landscapes, a corporate culture that has fully embraced a good work-life balance, and a country that leads in global development, Sweden continually performs well in quality of life rankings. Indeed, in Global Citizen Solutions pioneering Global Passport Index, Sweden ranks first in our Quality of Life Index

Scandinavian countries are renowned for their well-rounded systems, striking a good work-life balance with a particular emphasis on spending time with loved ones. In this article, we’ll run over the methodology behind our Quality of Life Index. Following this, we’ll delve into what makes Sweden tick, and examine just why Sweden has claimed the top spot in our Quality of Life Index. 

The Methodology Behind Our Quality of Life Index

While most passport rankings focus solely on the number of countries that you can visit visa-free with a certain passport, we believe that the true value of a passport has so much more to offer. As a result, we created our very own Global Passport Index, which includes an all-encompassing ranking system that takes into consideration a passport’s attractiveness level for investment opportunities, relocation purposes, and quality of life.

The Quality of Life Index, hence the name, accounts for the overall quality of life that a country offers, focussing on the aspects that make a country ‘desirable’ for expats, retirees, and digital nomads looking to relocate. 

Several thematic areas were selected and research was undertaken to identify the most reliable data sources, which have comprehensive country coverage. Data was collected from the World Economic Forum, the Sustainable Development Report, and the World Bank. 

For the Quality of Life Index, we looked at areas that we deemed as the most important to assess. The six main weights of indicators for the Quality of Life Index are the following: 

  • Sustainable Development Goals (weighted at 30%).
  • Cost of living (weighted at 20%).
  • Level of freedom (weighted at 20%).
  • Level of happiness (weighted at 10%).
  • Environmental performance (weighted at 10%).
  • Migrant acceptance (weighted at 10%).

More information about our methodology can be found here

Sweden – the best country for quality of life

Although one of the largest countries in Europe, Sweden has a relatively small population of only 10.35 million (as of 2020) and has seemed to always be a country leader in socio-economic and environmental concerns. 

There are several reasons as to why Sweden ranks highly for quality of life. This is because Sweden ranks “very high” in sustainable development, level of freedom, environmental performance, happiness levels, and ranks “high” for migrant acceptance. 

The only component on which Sweden ranked negatively is in the country’s cost of living, which is “very high”. However, it is worth bearing in mind that Sweden has relatively high salaries for its population, which needless to say, increases the cost of living. 

Each of these factors makes Sweden an outstanding place to live. Sweden performs well because of the country’s focus on environmental issues, civic engagement, education, health and well-being, personal safety, and having a good work-life balance themes common in Scandinavian countries. Sweden particularly excels in having a progressive mindset on an array of issues from climate change to maternity care— making it a desirable country to live with a family. Note that Sweden also performs well in the Global Passport Index as a whole, ranking in 6th position. 


Sweden: Focus on the environment and sustainable developmentSweden quality of life

Sweden has long been at the forefront of tackling environmental issues and cultivating sustainable development strategies. Indeed, Sweden’s first national sustainable development strategy was taken up by the government and parliament in 2002. The same year, a provision was added to the Swedish constitution to the same effect. The provision stated that sustainable development, leading to a good environment for present and future generations, must be promoted by the state. 

Sweden has taken the lead in many fields in environmental policy, including cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and committing to ambitious climate goals. In addition to this, Sweden has increased funding to tackle climate change and has stepped up its efforts to protect biodiversity and ecosystems. Alongside neighboring countries, Sweden shares the responsibility for the Baltic Sea, a vulnerable marine ecosystem. 


Sweden: One of the happiest countries in the world

In Sweden, there is a great weight given to social equality and an emphasis on the importance placed on life outside the office and on a healthy work-life balance. Indeed, spending time with family is important to Swedes. From kindergarten, there are 16 months of paid family leave that can be split between the couple after a new child is born, with free daycare also available. 

A strong economy, good education, and excellent healthcare are very important factors in why Sweden performs so well in the happiness index (as each of the Scandinavian countries also tends to do). Sweden is renowned for providing excellent care for its residents. Expats can expect a high quality of life with affordable access to education and healthcare. The capital city of Stockholm is surrounded by nature and boasts excellent infrastructure.


Sweden: Freedom of speech and migrant acceptance

Sweden is a parliamentary monarchy and a country that has free and fair elections with a strong multiparty system. In Sweden, an individual has a good level of freedom in terms of civil liberties and political rights, which are legally guaranteed and respected in practice as the rule of law prevails. 

When it comes to migrant acceptance, Sweden has long been a country that is very accepting of migrants.

The World’s best passports for quality of life:

Sweden comes out on top of the pack as having the best passport in our Quality of Life Index. This is followed by Finland (2nd), Denmark (3rd), Canada (4th), Germany (5th), Netherlands (6th), New Zealand (7th), United Kingdom (8th), Spain (9th), and Austria (10th).


Securing a second passport

While traditional routes of gaining citizenship and a second passport have focused on birth, marriage, and naturalization, citizenship-by-investment programs are becoming increasingly popular, with many countries securing citizenship through this route. 

Citizenship-by-investment programs vary depending on the country. For some, you will need to make a specified investment into the nation’s economy – such as real estate, job creation, or cultural institutions. While this gives you citizenship and increased personal and financial freedom and security, it also boosts the country’s economy a win-win for both parties. 

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique global citizenship and residence advisory firm, providing citizenship and residency solutions to international clients. Contact us today to begin your journey to obtain true global citizenship.