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Number on welfare in Switzerland falls for first time in 10 years

Neuchâtel – © Adwo |

In 2018, the number of people receiving social welfare in Switzerland fell from 278,300, or 3.3% of the population, to 272,700, 3.2% of the population.

The last time the number fell was in 2008 when it dropped from 3.1% (233,500) to 2.9% (222,600) of the population.

The percentage of people on welfare varies significantly by type of household, nationality and canton.

Rates are far higher for single parent households (21%) than families with unmarried parents (7%) or families with married parents (2%). Around 5% of single people were on welfare in 2018.

The low percentage of Swiss citizens (2%) on welfare contrasts with the high rates of those from South America (13%), Asia (12%) and Africa (29%) on social support. The rates among nationals from the EU-28 (3%) and the rest of Europe (8%) were closer to Swiss rates. While nationals from Oceania and North America were less likely to be on welfare than Swiss citizens.

Cantons with the highest rates were Neuchâtel (7%), Basel-City (6%), Geneva (6%), Vaud (4%) and Bern (4%). Cantons with lowest rates were the rural cantons of Uri, Obwalden, Appenzell Innerrhoden and Nidwalden. These cantons all had rates around 1%.

Switzerland’s government has been working hard to reduce welfare fraud. Rules on using detectives to uncover fraud were introduced earlier in 2019.

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About Le News
Le News
The newspaper Le News is a free, quality, local English language newspaper launched on 31 October 2013. Le News fills a gap in local Swiss media for the numerous English-speakers living and visiting Switzerland. In late January 2015 we decided to put our print medium on hold and focus on our digital media presence.
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