On average, incomes have increased among young families in Sweden. File photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Household economies improve but gaps widen

While Swedish families' incomes have increased overall since the year 2000, income gaps between families have grown, a new report from Statistics Sweden shows.

The share of children living in low-income households has dropped from 18 to eight per cent since 1997.

At the same time, there are different ways of describing the economy of families with young children. One measure is income standards, which describe the extent to which a household's income covers a family's basic needs.

An income standard rate of 1 means the household's total income just about covers rent and the most necessary costs of living. An income standard rate of 2 or higher means the household incomes could also cover the most necessary expenses for another household of equal size.

In Sweden, the average income standard among families with dependent children has increased in recent years, from 1.32 in 1995 to 1.97 in 2011. That means the average family generates incomes that would nearly cover the costs of an equal-sized family.

The income standard varies across Swedish society and the gap has grown between different groups. For instance, children whose parents live together have a higher income standard than children with single parents. Children in households where at least one of the parents was born in Sweden have higher income standards than children whose two parents were born abroad.

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