Sweden - Poverty and wealth

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Sweden is well-known for its system that combines a strong market-based economy with extensive socialwelfare

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Sweden 21,157 22,283 24,168 26,397 27,705
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Germany N/A N/A N/A N/A 31,141
Norway 19,022 23,595 27,113 28,840 36,806
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

services. Central and local authorities play a dominant role in providing a wide variety of social services, such as education, health, old age, disability, and unemployment benefits. The governing Social Democratic Party has a platform that includes full employment , wage solidarity, and the maintenance of current living standards among its basic goals.

Swedes enjoy a traditionally high and stable standard of living, although at a high cost to individual taxpayers. Sweden is among the most equitable societies in the world, with a 1995 Gini index (an index that measuring economic equality in which 0 stands for perfect equality and 100 for perfect inequality) of 25. By comparison, the United States had a Gini rating of 40.8, the United Kingdom had a 36.1, and Switzerland had a 33.1). This means that there are no extremes of wealth and poverty in the country. Progressive personal income taxes and comparatively lower executive compensation (compared to that in the U.S.) contribute to maintaining equal social opportunity. Sweden's excellent distribution and transportation system, along with generous regional subsidies, work to prevent inequalities in living standards between urban and rural areas.

Social security programs are exceptionally comprehensive and are subsidized by the government, although some are administered by the trade unions. In response

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Sweden
Lowest 10% 3.7
Lowest 20% 9.6
Second 20% 14.5
Third 20% 18.1
Fourth 20% 23.2
Highest 20% 34.5
Highest 10% 20.1
Survey year: 1992
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Sweden 17 5 12 4 14 6 41
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Germany 14 6 7 2 10 7 53
Norway 16 7 11 5 4 6 51
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
a Excludes energy used for transport.
b Includes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

to the recession of the early 1990s, the government started reductions in the level and range of social programs. Still, some surveys have found that 62 percent of all young and educated Swedes have considered moving abroad, partly in pursuit of greater personal challenge.

Also read article about Sweden from Wikipedia

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