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.
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.
swissinfo.ch and agencies