Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (SILC)

The SILC survey in short

Symbolbild Erhebung SILC

SILC (Statistics on Income and Living Conditions) is a representative survey of households in Switzerland. This instrument aims at studying poverty, social exclusion and living conditions on the basis of indicators that are comparable at the European level.

This yearly survey (from January to June) is carried out through telephone interviews (CATI). The persons who participate in the survey are interviewed for several years. This setting aims at describing the important stages in individual trajectories and at studying changes in living conditions. 

SILC provides answers to questions such as:

  • Is the distribution of income similar in Switzerland and the neighbouring countries?
  • How many persons cannot afford to go on holidays at least one week per year?
  • Are families satisfied with childcare services?
  • How many percent of the population have a precarious financial situation?

Our fact sheet offers you an overview of the survey:

Frequently asked questions 

International comparisons (EU-SILC)

The survey is also conducted each year in cooperation with the statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) in about 30 countries throughout Europe (EU-SILC: „European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions"). Over 130'000 households and 270'000 persons take part in the survey. This means that the results can also be compared with those of other countries.

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

Legal bases

SILC is based on the legal bases of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), which are regulated in the Federal Statistical Act and in the associated implementation Ordinance.

The FSO carries out a random sample register to conduct household surveys. This draws mainly from official cantonal and communal population registers. In order to make contact, the sample was completed as much as possible with telephone numbers that must be provided to the FSO by telephone providers. This list contains all private telephone connections, including those that do not appear in the publicly available telephone directory.

Data protection

Personal data such as name, address and telephone number are saved separately from answers and erased as soon as the survey process is over.

Data are treated in a strictly confidential way and are used for statistical purposes only. Use of the information for commercial or administrative purposes is prohibited.

The results are published in a form which prevents identification of specific households or persons.

All employees of the FSO and DemoSCOPE have an obligation to maintain secrecy.


The questionnaires are available in French, German and Italian.

Further information


Most standard results of the SILC survey in Switzerland are available in French, German and Italian.  

Press release



Quality Reports

Other reports are available in French and German. 


Federal Statistical Office Section Income, Consumption and Living Conditions
Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (SILC)

Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
+41 58 463 68 04

Free hotline and e-mail for survey participants

+41 800 001 008


Our English pages offer only a limited range of information on our statistical production. For our full range please consult our pages in French and German (top right hand screen).