Social assistance

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In focus

Monetary social assistance

The social assistance in Switzerland

Social assistance is a last-resort benefit. It includes measures to help recipients to be financially independent and socially integrated and to prevent them from falling into poverty.

These statistics enable the social assistance rate to be calculated and describe the socio-demographic structure of recipients, their financial situation and the amount of benefits received.

Poverty indicator NFE

Poverty indicator NFE

The poverty indicator is based on the social assistance statistics. It is a partial indicator for the compensation of socio-demographic burdens as part of the system of fiscal equalisation between the Confederation and the cantons (NFE).

At a glance

The social assistance rate has not changed much in recent years. The same applies to the main groups at risk. Persons without post-compulsory education, children, foreign nationals, single-parent families and persons living alone have a higher risk of having to resort to social assistance.

In 2018, the economic social assistance rate fell from 3.3% to 3.2%.

The main indicators of social assistance statistics




Social assistance rate (economic social assistance)



Share of short-term beneficiaries of economic social assistance (up to one year, closed case)



Average duration of social assistance benefits (current cases)

42 months


Net expenditure on social assistance in a broader sense

CHF 8 285m  


Net expenditure on financial social assistance

CHF 2 816m 


Annual net expenditure on financial social assistance per beneficiary

CHF 10 116  


Social assistance rate in a broader sense



Sources: Statistics on social assistance recipients, finance statistics of social assistance in a broader sense, inventory of social assistance in a broader sense

Further information

Press releases

Statistical sources and concepts

On this topic

Recipients of social benefits

Key indicators on recipients of financial social assistance broadly defined.

Expenditure for social assistance

Financial statistics provide information on net expenditure on social assistance and other means-tested social benefits in Switzerland.

Inventory of social assistance

The inventory offers a systematic compilation of the cantonal social benefits which form part of social assistance in a broader sense.

NFE Poverty indicator

The ARMIN poverty indicator is a partial indicator of the socio-demographic cost compensation of the new fiscal equalisation (NFE)


Federal Statistical Office Section Social Analyses and Section Social Welfare
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel


+41 58 463 64 21


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