The Swedish Tourist Association suggests that we call +46 771 SWEDEN to “Dial-a-Swede” and talk with someone who lives in Sweden. The reason? Commemorating their 250th anniversary of abolishing censorship, they want to “connect people in troubled times.”
As of yesterday almost half of the phone calls were from the U.S.:
So, let’s see what “dial-a-Swede” would tell us when asked about their wealth.
Sweden’s Wealth Inequality
Sweden is less equal than most of us imagine. More defined by birth than a meritocracy, the majority of Sweden’s upper class inherited its affluence. The numbers also demonstrate that Sweden has a relatively high number of millionaires and ultra high net worth individuals…and a happy middle class.
Number of Millionaires
For a small country, Sweden has a relatively high number of millionaires:
Ultra High Net Worth Individuals
Above the millionaire level, Sweden ranks among the top 20 nations for ultra high net worth individuals:
Middle Class Wealth
But still, In Sweden the middle class has more than one fifth of the country’s wealth. Combined with upper class wealth, the total is almost 97 percent.
Our Bottom Line: Welfare State
We could ask why Sweden’s inequality has remained a secret. Credit Suisse hypothesizes (2014 Wealth report) that the, “Strong social security programs, good public pensions, free higher education or generous student loans, unemployment and health insurance can greatly reduce the need for personal financial assets. Public housing programs can do the same for real assets. This is one explanation for the high level of wealth inequality we identify in Denmark, Norway and Sweden: the top groups continue to accumulate for business and investment purposes, while the middle and lower classes have no pressing need for personal saving.”
As a result, Sweden’s unequal wealth distribution appears to be generating little dissatisfaction.
And finally, I discovered that Sweden has a champion bunny jumping team: