BERN The number of people on welfare in Swiss cities is generally higher in Suisse romande than in German-speaking cities, according to a study by Bern University and the Cities Initiative for Social Policy. Lausanne and Bienne/Biel have the greatest percentage of people on welfare among 13 cities surveyed, with increases in five other cities, declines in four and no changes in Zurich and Bern. The overall increase in the number of recipients was 2.5%.
The differences are explained by size, location and socio-economic environment. Large cities generally have a higher level of welfare recipients, although the study says that at-risk groups remain the same: single parents, low-skilled and foreign workers plus those aged over 55. An estimated 50-60 percent of welfare recipients have no professional training.
A more startling finding was the growth in the number of people receiving benefits for emergency situations and to those relying on these benefits over the long-term, an increase since 2006 when the average length for receiving benefits was 32 months compared to 38 months in 2013.
Despite its high rate of welfare recipients, Lausanne registered a slight drop last year due in part to restrictions placed on foreign residents.