Material and social deprivation

Material and social deprivation is a new indicator that allows to measure the proportion of people who have to forego important goods, services and social activities for financial reasons (see chapter Basics and Surveys). This new indicator is a progression of the former material deprivation rate which it replaces in both Switzerland and at European level. The proportion of deprived persons in Switzerland remains at a similar level as previously. However, the new findings cannot be compared directly with the previous material deprivation rates.

Main results

In 2021, 5.2% of the population in Switzerland were considered materially and socially deprived. As before, the most common type of deprivation is the inability to face unexpected financial expenses of CHF 2500 within one month (18.9% of the population). The next two most frequent deprivations also affected the household as a whole. 10.4% of the population said they did not have the financial means to replace worn-out furniture, and 8.7% were unable to go on holiday for at least one week every year.

At 7.9%, the commonest deprivations at individual level were forgoing a regular leisure activity for financial reasons and the inability to spend some money on themselves every week without having to ask another household member (6.3%).

Persons at risk of poverty have a considerably higher rate of material and social deprivation (16.6%) than those who are not at risk of poverty (3.3%). Persons aged 65 or older, however, are a case apart: although they are especially at risk of poverty, their rate of material and social deprivation (2.9%) is considerably lower than that of the population as a whole.

European comparisons

In 2021, the rate of material and social deprivation is much lower in Switzerland (5.2%) than the European average (EU: 11.9%). In our neighbouring countries it is 4.4% in Austria, 9.0% in Germany, 11.3% in Italy and 11.4% in France. This rate varies in Europe between 3.5% (Sweden) and 34.5% (Romania).

Links to the results and publications at European level are listed further below under "Further information" in the paragraph "Links".

Material and social deprivation of employed persons

In 2021, 3.3% of all employed persons in Switzerland were affected by material deprivation. This corresponds to 124 000 persons.

Special attention is given to the question of deprivation of employed persons. In fact, paid work is considered a way to reduce the risk of being affected by poverty.

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

European comparisons

The material and social deprivation rate of employed persons in Switzerland in 2021 was 3.3%, well below the European average of 7.3%. Austria was our only neighbouring country with a lower rate than Switzerland. In contrast, in Germany, France and Italy, it was considerably higher.

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


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



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