Poverty

In 2016, 7.5% of the Swiss population i.e. approx. 615‘000 people were affected by income poverty.

The groups most affected were persons living alone or in single-parent households with minor children, persons with no post-compulsory education and those living in households where no-one works.

Compared to the years 2014 (6.6%) and 2015 (7.0%), the poverty rate of the total population shows a growing tendency. However, the change remains within the range of statistical fluctuation.

As substantial changes have been made to the SILC methodology, from 2014 the values of all indicators can no longer be directly compared with those of previous years.

Poverty threshold

In 2016, the poverty threshold was on average CHF 2247 per month for a single person and CHF 3981 per month for a household with two adults and two children under the age of 14.

The poverty threshold is set according to the norms of the Swiss Conference for Social Assistance (SKOS) and consists of a fixed amount to cover living expenses, individual housing costs as well as CHF 100 per month per person aged 16 or over for additional expenses.


Poverty of employed persons

In 2016, 3.8% of all employed persons in Switzerland were affected by poverty. This corresponds to 140,000 persons.

The income of employed persons is largely determined by the form of work and work conditions. The following groups were particularly affected by poverty despite being employed:

  • persons who worked for only part of the year
  • persons who worked mainly part-time
  • self-employed persons
  • persons with a temporary contract
  • persons employed in small businesses

In comparison to the previous year (3.9%) the poverty rate of employed persons has hardly changed. As substantial changes have been made to the SILC methodology, from 2014 the values of all indicators can no longer be directly compared with those of previous years. More detailed information is available in German, French or Italian.

Special attention is given to the question of poverty of employed persons. In fact, paid work is considered a way to reduce the risk of being affected by poverty. Employed persons who are considered as poor are people aged 18 or over who had a full-time or part-time job for more than half of the calendar year before the interview and who live in a poor household.

More information on the risk of poverty and material deprivation of employed persons can be found here:
Risk of poverty of employed persons
Material deprivation of employed persons

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Federal Statistical Office Section Social Analyses
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
Switzerland

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