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Poverty rate falls slightly in Switzerland

© Chernetskaya |

In 2018, the percentage of the population in Switzerland living below the poverty line fell from 8.2% (2017) to 7.9%, returning to the same level as it was in 2010.

Most affected by poverty were those aged under 18 (9.6%) and those aged over 64 (13.7%).

Single parent families (19.3%), those without tertiary education (12.7%) and those without Swiss citizenship (11.6%) were more likely to have incomes low enough to place them below the poverty line.

Foreigners in Switzerland were more or less likely to fall below the poverty line than Swiss citizens depending on where they were from. The poverty rate among Swiss was 6.6%. Among those from northern and western Europe the rate was 4.8%, among those from southern Europe it was 10.4% and among foreigners from the rest of the world it was 17.5%.

To be considered below the poverty line in Switzerland in 2018 a single person would need an annual income below CHF 27,102 (US$ 28,186) after paying for health insurance. A couple without children would need income below CHF 36,434 (US$ 37,891) and a couple with two children would need income under CHF 47,885 (US$ 49,800) after paying health insurance.

Swiss health insurance for a family of four in Switzerland costs around CHF 10,000 (US$ 10,400), so for a family of four to be below the poverty line they would need an annual income equivalent to less than CHF 58,885 (US$ 61,240).

The poverty rate in Switzerland remains relatively low by OECD standards. Switzerland has the 11th lowest poverty rate out of the 36 OECD nations, according to the latest OECD data. Its rate is lower than Spain, Italy, Portugal, Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Ireland but higher than France, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

Switzerland has a poverty rate around half of the rate of countries like Israel, Korea, Turkey and the US, according to OECD figures.

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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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