Lower Standard of Life In Iceland Than In Other Nordic Countries

13.2.2013
Words by Catharine Fulton
The living standards in Iceland have fallen behind those in the country’s Nordic neighbours over the past six years. This coming from an Icelandic Federation of Labour (ASÍ) report released this month, Eyjan reports.

ASÍ found that wages are lower in Iceland, despite workers here having a longer working week than their Nordic peers. In 2006 the living standards were comparable, though even then Icelanders had to work harder to “keep up with the Jones’.”

Since then, however, standards have fallen well behind, most notably where wages are concerned. Norwegians are making higher wages both before and after taxes, despite paying a higher tax rate than Icelanders. Those working in the service industry are making, on average, 32% more in Norway and Sweden than in Iceland, and when professional occupations are considered, Norwegians are making 60% more than Icelanders and Swedes are pulling in 33% more salary than Icelanders.

In the Nordic region, Iceland is the only country where workers below a median income level have already experienced a tax rate increase, which the report finds is a disincentive for lower-income workers to increase their working hours or marginally increase their income at the risk of being bumped up to a higher tax bracket while still earning below average wages.

The entire report can be read in Icelandic on ASÍ’s website (PDF link).




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