Recipients of social benefits

In 2017, 9.5% of the population received benefits from social assistance in the broader sense.

  • 45.7% of these people received supplementary benefits to OASI/IV,
  • 35.0% received support from economic social assistance, also known as social assistance in the narrow sense, 
  • 19.3% obtained other benefits such as family support (e.g. maternity allowances, supplementary benefits for families), maintenance advances, housing benefits, old-age and disability support and unemployment support.

Social assistance in the broader sense is composed of financial social assistance benefits and means-tested social benefits. The latter is only granted if the other social benefits earlier on in the system prove to be insufficient to cover financial needs.

All cantons grant financial social assistance, maintenance advances and supplementary benefits to OASI/IV. However, other benefits are granted differently depending on the canton.

The social assistance rate in the broader sense rose from 8.9% in 2006 (661 532 recipients) to 9.5% in 2017 (801 793 recipients). This represents almost one in ten people.

During the same period, the economic social assistance rate (social assistance in the narrow sense) remained quite stable (3.3% in 2017). The number of recipients, however, rose from 245 156 in 2006 to 278 345 in 2017. As the population grew at the same time, the economic social assistance rate remained stable.

Social assistance by residence status of recipients

Depending on their residence status, social assistance recipients can appear in one of the three following statistics: economic social assistance (ESA), social assistance in the context of asylum (SH-AsylStat) and social assistance in the context of refugees (SH-FlüStat).

If the share of social assistance recipients in the context of asylum (13,4%) and the share of recipients in the context of refugees (7,1%) is included, then a total of 345 348 people received financial social assistance benefits in 2017.

Further information

Graphs

Press Releases

Statistical sources and concepts

On this topic

Social benefits before social assistance

Key indicators on recipients of benefits preceding social assistance

Monetary social assistance

Key indicators on social assistance recipients

Asylum seekers

Key indicators on recipients of financial social assistance in the context of asylum

Refugees

Key indicators on recipients of social assistance in the context of refugees

Contact

Federal Statistical Office
Section Social Welfare
Section Social Analyses

Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel
Switzerland

info.social@bfs.admin.ch info.sozan@bfs.admin.ch

Tel.
+41 58 463 64 21

Remark

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