Recommended by the EU, this indicator measures the risk of social exclusion and the scale of income inequality between the different population groups. A higher at-risk-of poverty rate in a population group underlines this group's lack of equal opportunities to participate, in comparison with others, in various areas of life and in society.
In 2019, the at-risk-of poverty rate was significantly more likely to affect persons with a migration background from the first generation (21%) than those without a migration background (11%). The difference between the second or subsequent generations (13%) and the population without a migration background was not statistically significant.
Between 2014 and 2019, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of people from the first generation increased significantly (from 16% to 21% or +5 percentage points). On the contrary, the at-risk-of-poverty rate of persons without a migration background and those from the second or subsequent generations did not change significantly.
In all major Swiss regions, the at-risk-of-poverty rate is higher among persons with a migration background than among people without a migration background. The difference is statistically significant in the Lake Geneva region (26% compared with 12%), in North-West Switzerland (15% compared with 7%) and in the major region of Zurich (14% compared with 9%).
Persons are considered at risk of poverty if they live in a household whose financial resources (excluding capital stock) are considerably lower than the usual income level in the country that they live in. Poverty is seen as a form of inequality; the fact that a person can be considered at risk of poverty does not depend only on his own economic situation, but also on the economic situation of other people in the country under consideration. The at-risk-of-poverty threshold is a relative measure defined in relation to the median equivalised disposable income. By convention, it is usually set at 60% (EU approach), as in the above mentioned figures, or 50% (OECD approach) of the median equivalised disposable income. The
at-risk-of-poverty rate is calculated on the entire population, with no age limit. Being at risk of poverty, therefore, means having an income that is significantly lower than that of the population as a whole, a situation that can lead to social exclusion. For households comprised of several adults with a different migration status, the same value calculated for the entire household is used for persons with and without a migration background.
In Switzerland, the at-risk-of-poverty threshold for a single person household was CHF 2504 per month in 2019. This means that a person living alone, whose disposable income was less than CHF 2504 per month, was considered as being at-risk-of-poverty. The threshold was CHF 5258 per month for a two-person household with two children under the age of 14. The at-risk-of-poverty threshold must be distinguished from the absolute poverty rate calculated by the FSO based on Swiss norms for access to social assistance.
Following changes to the survey framework and improvements in the weighting model, results from 2014 on can no longer be directly compared with those from previous years (series break).