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Poverty statistics Long-term poverty in Switzerland is rare, report finds

A picture of a woman sitting with their children on a staircase without shoes on

A person is defined as poor if they do not have enough money to lead a socially integrated life. 


Poverty is a temporary experience for most Swiss, with only 1% of the population considered “permanently poor”, says the Swiss Federal Statistics Office (FSO).

The FSO survey, conducted over four years, analyses for the first time how long people in Switzerland are affected by poverty.

Some 615,000 of Swiss suffered from income poverty in 2016, or 7.5% of the population, according to the report. This compares with 7% the previous year.

A person is defined as poor if they do not have the financial means to acquire the goods and services necessary to lead a socially integrated life, the report said.

+ Standard of living remains high in Switzerland 

During the period 2013-2016, one in eight people (12.3%) was considered poor, the survey found. However, only 0.9% of the population experienced poverty over the entire four-year period.  

According to the report, 1.2% of people suffered from poverty for three years, and 2.5% for two years. Looking at just one particular year, 7.7% of the population was affected – almost the same level given in the 2016 annual report.

The numerical poverty definition used in the report was derived from the guidelines of the Swiss Conference on Social Assistanceexternal link (SKOS). In 2016, the subsistence minimum income in Switzerland was set at CHF2,247 ($2,355) per month for a single person and at CHF 3,981 ($4,173) for two adults with two children. 


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