Poverty before social transfers

In Switzerland, social transfers make a considerable contribution to reducing poverty. With the exclusion of all social transfers, almost one third of the Swiss population would be affected by poverty (30.7%). If only old-age and survivors’ benefits are counted as income, the poverty rate falls to 16.0%. When all transfers have been taken into account it is ultimately 7.5%.

The structure of the population considered to be poor remains largely unchanged by social transfers. Both before and after social transfers, the largest risk factors for poverty in Switzerland are a low level of school education and inadequate integration into labour market.

Social transfers considerably reduce the poverty rate of people living in lone-parent households, unemployed persons and foreign nationals. However, even after transfers, these groups are still significantly more likely to be affected by poverty than the total population.

European comparison

To enable comparisons with other European countries, the European defined at-risk-of-poverty rate before social transfers is used.

Switzerland is among the countries with the lowest at-risk-of-poverty rate before all social transfers with 38.0%. The decline in the at-risk-of-poverty rate due to social transfers is in line with the European average.

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Federal Statistical Office Section Social Analyses
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CH-2010 Neuchâtel
Switzerland

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