Best Scandinavian country for young families to move to 

Are you looking to move to Scandinavia with your young family but are yet to make up your mind about where exactly to settle? Scandinavia is an excellent choice for families; its stunning scenery, lovely food, friendly residents, great healthcare and education systems, and thriving economies mean it has something for everyone. Our research focuses on the best Scandinavian country to move to for young families. 

Big life-changing decisions like moving overseas with a young family require a lot of thought, especially when your children are only little. So, you will want to do your research and get it right. Where will your kids go to school? Will your quality of life for your family be better in Scandinavia compared to the UK? What is the quality of the healthcare over there like? 

Scandinavia is a subregion of northern Europe comprising several countries, and you may be thinking about which is the best one for your young family to relocate to. 

At CIA Landlord Insurance, we have decided to take a look at the best Scandinavian country for young families to move to. Carry on reading to learn all about which country has come out on top in our research and why. 

Which countries are in Scandinavia?

First things first, there has been plenty of hot debate over the years about which countries comprise Scandinavia. In short, Sweden, Norway and Denmark make up Scandinavia, with both Sweden and Norway being on the Scandinavian Peninsula. 

However, culturally speaking many people today also consider the Nordic countries of Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands as also being part of Scandinavia. Whilst there is an ongoing discussion as to which countries it includes, we’ll be looking more closely at Sweden, Norway, and Denmark in our research. 

Image of map of Scandinavia.

Get your immigration documents in order

You must first ensure that you and your family’s immigration documents are all properly in order to help facilitate your move to Scandinavia, there’s a bit more paperwork involved post-Brexit. 

Your new employer in the Scandinavian host country will have to fill out relevant paperwork with immigration authorities to enable you to stay for an extended period on a work visa. That is unless you or your partner already hold a passport or residence permit for the country in question. 

Denmark is the best Scandinavian country for young families to move to 

Interestingly, Denmark came out on top as the best Scandinavian country for young families to move to. Sweden and Norway sit just behind in second and third. Denmark came in first place for figures on

  • Lowest proportion of residents living with a chronic health condition 
  • Highest life satisfaction levels, 
  • Highest educational performance in teenagers 
  • The highest average monthly wage after tax.

Denmark is a beautiful country with friendly people. Denmark is part of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) intergovernmental organisation made up mostly of higher-income countries offering the best quality of life.

It is one of the OECD nations offering the highest overall quality of life. So, it is thereby unsurprising that it came out on top in our research. 

Sweden came close behind in second, but it is full of breathtaking places to visit and our research found that it has a top education system.

Norway finished in third. Although Norway is undoubtedly a great place to live and blessed with stunning idyllic scenery, it is a little expensive and the cost of living there is high.


Overall rankings Best Scandinavian country for young families to move to
1 Denmark
2 Sweden
3 Norway


In the UK, we are lucky to have access to a healthcare system that works pretty well, employs great staff, and ultimately is free. Other countries don’t structure their healthcare the same way, and therefore a large chunk of workers’ wages go into healthcare. 

You will be thrilled to know that you can get excellent healthcare in Scandinavia that is free, or in the case of Norway, it requires relatively small employee contributions. 

Image of doctor with young child patient.

Denmark and Sweden have free public healthcare

Free public healthcare and a strong welfare state are something that this part of the world is well known for. Assessing the pros and cons of healthcare models operating in different nations will undoubtedly run through your mind as a responsible parent looking to relocate your young family to Scandinavia.

Looking for a free-to-access top-quality healthcare system? Look no further than Sweden, which has top-notch free universal health care in a decentralised system run by regions, local authorities, and municipalities. 

Denmark also offers high-quality free public healthcare to all citizens and residents. Therefore, their respective healthcare systems aren’t too dissimilar from the NHS we have in place here in the UK. 

Healthcare is not completely free for those over 16 in Norway

Healthcare for under 16-year-olds is free in Norway. However, healthcare for over 16s and adults is funded via taxes and payroll contributions by employees and employers alike. This system of employee contributions for over 16s means that healthcare in the Land of the Midnight Sun is not completely free.

Health is wealth and you certainly won’t want to risk moving to a country with inadequate healthcare for your young family. You need to know that you will be well looked after should one of you fall ill, or if you choose to grow your family further.

Below we go into more about some of the specific healthcare-related indicators we looked at, and on which aspects different Scandinavian countries managed to come out on top.

Life expectancy

First, we looked for data on which Scandinavian country had the highest life expectancy. Why? Well, life expectancy is a crucial indicator that tells you about the quality of healthcare and the general quality of life you can expect to find in a country. 

Image of elderly man smiling.

Norway has the highest life expectancy

The data we found shows that you can expect to hope to live a reasonably long life living in Scandinavia. The winner on the metric of life expectancy was Norway with an average life expectancy at birth in 2020 of 83.2 years old, this was higher than the EU average of 80.1 years old.

The snow, fjords, and fresh Norweigan air are evidently good for your body, mind, and soul it appears! Sweden was close behind in second with a life expectancy of 83.1 years, and Denmark in third with 81.5 years old 

Ranking Country Life Expectancy at birth in 2021
1 Norway 83.2 years old
2 Sweden 83.1 years old
3 Denmark 81.5 years old

Denmark has the lowest proportion of residents with chronic health conditions

You certainly want to avoid your children developing chronic health conditions in their youth as much as you can. Being young is about being free, eating a balanced diet, and burning off your steam by following an active lifestyle, and there is certainly plenty of space to do that in the gorgeous Scandinavian countries.

In this part of our research, Denmark had the lowest proportion of residents with chronic health conditions out of the three nations. Only 31% of Danes reported having at least one chronic health condition in 2019, compared to 36% in the entire EU. A symbol of a population ensuring they make an effort to lead a wholesome and well-balanced lifestyle

Encouraging your children to get involved with sports and exercise is a great way to integrate yourself into your new surroundings and meet new friends. All three of these countries are passionate sport-loving nations with hoards of breathtaking outdoor space ideal for ensuring active lifestyles for their citizens. 

With so many activities to get involved with, your children won’t need to be fixated on screens and their devices, get them outside as much as possible. 

Ranking Country % of people reporting living with at least one chronic health condition in 2019
1 Denmark 31
2 Norway 37
3 Sweden 38

Life satisfaction

Life is never plain sailing wherever you go and happiness is of course subjective. So, it is nice to be aware of whether people living in the country you are moving to are generally speaking happy and content with their lives.  

An important indicator to give you an insight into whether or not you could be happy living with your family is to look at just how satisfied people living in Scandinavian countries are 

Denmark has the population with the highest life satisfaction levels

You might think with there being so little daylight in the autumn and winter months life satisfaction levels would be low. However, The information we gathered shows that when surveyed on their life satisfaction, Scandinavians replied that they were pretty satisfied with life. 

Denmark scored the highest score of 7.5 for ‘life satisfaction’ in our research. The food, great healthcare and education and stunning landscape and cultural sights are perhaps some of the things that make people simply so content with life in Denmark. 

Equally, Norway and Sweden also didn’t score too badly when it comes to life satisfaction, both getting 7.3 each. 

Ranking Country The population’s general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10
1 Denmark 7.5
2 Norway 7.3
3 Sweden 7.3

Tourism Treasures in Scandinavia 

Similarly to how we love staycations in the UK, you could do the same in Scandinavia. 

Why not make the most of all your new country of residence has to offer when you move over there by going on fun-filled holidays with your young family? 

Scandinavia is full of fascinating tourist sites such as museums, stunning mountains, fjords, ancient monuments, hiking trails, seas, lakes, rivers, and more. These are the perfect cocktail for fun family sightseeing and holidays where you can create unforgettable memories. 

Image of fjords in Norway.

Sweden has the highest number of jaw-dropping UNESCO World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites are specially designated beauty spots by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance. You will be pleased to hear that Scandinavia in all its splendour is full of UNESCO world heritage sites that you can visit and soak in as a family when your kids are growing up. 

All three of the countries are fortunate enough to have jaw-dropping UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Denmark is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in total, including the Viking Age rune stones in Jelling, Hamlet’s Castle in Kronborg, the Wadden Sea National Park, and more.

Norway has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites for you to enjoy, including the majestic Western Fjords landscape, the Vega Islands fishing community, the historic harbour district of Bryggen in the city of Bergen and plenty more. 

Our research unveiled it is Sweden that has the highest number of Unesco World Heritage Sites in Scandinavia, with 15 in total. Its heritage sites include the naval port of Karlskrona in Southern Sweden which dates back to 1680, the Rock Carvings in Tanum depicting bronze age art in Western Sweden, the Swedish Royal Family’s residence of Drottningholm with its beautiful garden near Stockholm, and other gems. 


Ranking Country Number of UNESCO world heritage sites
1 Sweden 15
2 Denmark 8
3 Norway 7


When moving abroad, you will most likely want your kids to be able to access an amazing education system. You want them to be able to reach for the stars and achieve their dream, and a well-designed education system will make it possible for your little ones to do just that in the future.

A good national education system will churn out impressive results from students and set young people up for top careers and bright futures. So, therefore we chose to take a further look at data on the educational attainment levels of youngsters in each Scandinavian country and compare them. 

Teenagers in Sweden have the best reading levels in Scandinavia

Reading and literacy skills are crucial for general life and in the workplace. We looked at the mean PISA reading score (the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment) for 15-year-olds in each Scandinavian country. 

A 2018 study showed Sweden as the Scandinavian country with the best PISA reading score of 502 for 15-year-olds. Sweden has a great education system, and after secondary school kids can either go to a university, or university college or follow a Higher Vocational Education (HVE) route, combining theory with practical learning.

Denmark also has an impressive education system and finished just behind on 501. 


Ranking Country Mean PISA score for 15-year-olds in reading
1 Sweden 502
2 Denmark 501
3 Norway 499

Teenagers in Denmark are the highest performing in Scandinavia in mathematics

Having high capabilities is a great tool for your kid to have, even if they don’t want to become an accountant, financial advisor, or work in any typical number-crunching job in the future. 

So, we also took a look at the PISA mathematics scores for each Scandinavian country to give you an idea of how well students do in the mathematics element of the respective national education systems. 

It transpires that Denmark was a clear leader with 509 points in the mean score for the PISA mathematics assessment for 15-year-olds. So, it seems that the Danish education system works efficiently to produce highly competent mathematicians.


Ranking Country Mean PISA score for 15-year-olds in mathematics
1 Denmark 509
2 Sweden 503
3 Norway 501

Denmark has the highest monthly salary after tax

The cost of living crisis is real. Similarly to the UK, things can be a little pricey in Scandinavia, but it really depends on what you look at. 

For instance, houses are pretty expensive in the UK, especially in London and the surrounding areas. However, shops and consumer retail prices tend to be a bit higher in these three Scandinavian countries than in the UK.

You will want to be sure about what your financial situation will look like before taking the leap of faith to move to a new country. So, thought it was important to weigh up the monthly salary in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway after tax. 

Our research has uncovered Denmark as the Scandinavian country offering the highest average monthly disposable salary after tax, a handsome £2,753.

Norway was just behind with £2,583 as the average monthly disposable salary, and Sweden finished third out of the three.


Ranking Country Average monthly disposable salary after tax (converted into pounds)
1 Denmark 2,753
2 Norway 2,583
3 Sweden 2,052


In our research, the aim was to get a better understanding of which Scandinavian country was the best for young families to move to. Therefore, we pulled together relevant data that would indicate the quality of life young families can expect when relocating to each one of the respective Scandinavian countries. 

We included data from surveys relating to life satisfaction, the health and well-being of residents, national education systems, and average salaries after tax. We then compared each result against one another and aggregated the scores together to help us make a final decision on the best country for young families to move to in the Scandinavian region.