Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Poverty in Switzerland increases by almost 10% in one year

Volunteers at a food charity in Lausanne in February
Volunteers at a food charity in Lausanne in February Keystone

Around 670,000 people are affected by poverty in Switzerland, according to the Federal Statistical Office. Poverty rose from 7.5% to 8.2% of the population between 2016 and 2017, an increase of almost 10%. 

The groups most affected were those living alone or in single-parent households with children under 18, those with no post-compulsory education and those living in households where no-one works, the Swiss social statistics report 2019 revealed on Thursday. 

In 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available, the poverty line in SwitzerlandExternal link was on average CHF2,259 ($2,292) per month for a single person and CHF3,990 per month for a household with two adults and two children under the age of 14. 

+ Find out more about children living in poverty in affluent Switzerland

Despite a strong economy, the number of people affected by poverty in Switzerland has been rising steadily since 2014. 

In 2017, 4.3% of all employed people in Switzerland were affected by poverty: 165,000 individuals. 

The following groups were particularly affected by poverty despite being employed: those who worked for only part of the year; those who worked mainly part-time; self-employed people; those with a temporary contract; and those employed in small businesses. 

An analysis by the statistical office shows that many more people than assumed experience poverty in Switzerland: over the past four years some 12.8% have been poor for at least a year.


Popular Stories

Most Discussed


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

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR