Report finds fewer Swiss working poor

Not all people who have jobs have enough money Keystone

The number of working people living in poverty in Switzerland dropped from 5.2 per cent in 2008 to 3.5 per cent in 2010—or from 180,000 to around 120,000—according to a report released on Tuesday by the Federal Statistics Office.

This content was published on October 23, 2012 - 17:36 and agencies

The reduction in the number of working poor can be explained by a corresponding overall drop in the unemployment rate, which sank from  3.3 per cent in 2008 to 2.6 per cent in 2010, the report said.

“Working poor” are people who have jobs but are unable to meet their basic needs with their incomes. In 2010, the poverty level in Switzerland was defined by the Statistics Office as SFr2,250 ($2,411) a month for a single person and SFr4000 a month for a family of two adults and two children under the age of 14.

The group most often affected by poverty are single parents with one or more children. One in five single-parent families lives under the poverty line.

Other groups that have a higher-than-average incidence of poverty are people living in households where only one person works (7.3 per cent), workers who live alone (6.7 per cent),  workers without post-compulsory education (6.7 per cent) and women (4.8 per cent).

The type of work is also an indication of whether a person belongs to the group of working poor. This includes self-employed workers without employees (9.9 per cent), people who work in private households (8.3 per cent) or the hospitality industry (7.7 per cent), and people who work only part of the year (7.4 per cent) or who work part-time (5.2 per cent).

Only 1.4 per cent of Swiss households with two working persons are poor.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.