Fear of poverty increasingly disturbs the Swiss
Unemployment continues to head the Swiss list of concerns but a new worry has emerged among the top five: becoming poor.
The results of the "Worry Barometer" 2005 from the Credit Suisse banking group also reveal that other pressing concerns are healthcare, pensions and foreigners.
The annual survey was conducted by research institute gfs.bern.
Among the 1,000 Swiss voters taking part, 71 per cent cited being unemployed as their greatest worry. This is an increase of two percentage points on the previous year and has more than doubled in the past five years.
The researchers concluded that extensive media coverage was partly responsible for this. They also found that unemployment was an issue which occupied the minds of those in "the worst-affected social strata and cantons" and private-sector managers alike.
Number two on the list was healthcare, a concern of 51 per cent of interviewees. However, this represented a slight decrease on 2004. Similarly with the state pension system, which was in third position with 45 per cent. In the previous year, 49 per cent were concerned.
More people are more scared of being poor this year (29 per cent) than last year (22 per cent). Researchers concluded that the fear of being unemployed was linked to being impoverished and hence the rise.
The Swiss continue to regard foreigners with apprehension (30 per cent). However, the refugee issue has become less of a concern – 28 per cent as opposed to 45 per cent the previous year.
The view of the general economic situation in Switzerland was pessimistic – 32 per cent believed that the economy would be doing less well in 12 months' time.
This was countered by the respondents' perception of their own financial circumstances. Nearly ten per cent felt it was very good, while 44 per cent found it good, with a further 39 per cent saying it was fair.
The majority or 78 per cent of Swiss are proud of their country.
Nearly a third of interviewees associated their country with security and peace, with almost the same again linking it with neutrality. Freedom and freedom of expression also gained in importance.
At the same time, 81 per cent found taxes too high and 60 per cent believed that the country's political system needed to be radically reformed.
The following were the top five Swiss worries in 2005 (last year's figures in brackets):
Unemployment - 71% (69%)
Healthcare - 51% (56%)
State pension system - 45% (49%)
Foreigners - 30% (24%)
New poverty - 29% (22%)
Credit Suisse has been publishing the annual "Worry Barometer" since 1976.
The barometer reflects the opinions of Swiss voters and the data was collected in interviews.
This year's survey was conducted between August 15 and September 2 with 1,000 people.
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