Poverty and deprivation

Poverty is defined as a lack of resources (material, cultural and social) such as to exclude persons from the minimum acceptable way of life in the country in which they live.

Main indicators of the poverty statistics

Indicator (description)



Poverty rate
(absolute threshold according to social assistance guidelines)



At-risk-of-poverty rate
(threshold at 60% of median equivalised disposable income)



Material and social deprivation rate
(at least 5 out of 13 deprivation items)



Measuring poverty

In the absence of an unequivocal definition, measuring poverty results in a number of statistical approaches. We therefore distinguish between monetary poverty, poverty in terms of living conditions, subjective poverty, poverty before and after social transfers etc. Within the scope of monetary poverty, two types of approaches may be used: the absolute or the relative approach. The FSO also uses a non-monetary indicator to measure deprivation.

In the publication "Poverty In Switzerland: Concepts, results and methods” (available only in French or German) the different approaches and methods of the FSO’s poverty statistics are described in detail. Furthermore the main results are updated regularly (see “Further information/publications”).

More detailed studies on the subject of poverty

To complete the annually updated poverty indicators, the FSO also conducts more in-depth studies on the subject of poverty, taking a closer look at certain topics or population groups. These publications can be downloaded free of charge at “Further information/publications”.

Further information




Press releases



The following report is only available in French.

The following report is only available in French, German and Italian.

The following report is only available in French, German and Italian.

Statistical sources and concepts

On this topic


Information on poverty in Switzerland using the absolute poverty threshold (social subsistence level); analyses of change over time and by population group

Risk of poverty

Risk of poverty in Switzerland and Europe; analyses by population group and on the risk of poverty among employed persons

Material and social deprivation

Material and social deprivation in Switzerland and Europe; analyses by population group and on the deprivation of employed persons

Poverty before social transfers

Proportion of the population that would be affected by poverty without social transfers; analyses by population group and in European comparison

Dynamics of poverty

Longitudinal analysis of poverty in Switzerland and in Europe: is it a long-term or temporary phenomenon?


Federal Statistical Office Section Income, Consumption and Living Conditions
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
+41 58 463 68 04



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