In 2015, 21.7% of Switzerland’s population was unable to cover an unexpected expense of CHF 2,500 within a month, says a report from the Swiss Federal Statistics Office.
Single parent families were the least able to cope with 46.1% of them falling into this camp. Single parent families were followed by single people under 65 (27.1%) and two-parent families (24.0%). Among couples with no children only 12.2% would struggle to cover an unplanned payment of 2,500 francs within one month.
The ability of a household in the EU-28 to cover an unexpected expense amounting to a fraction (1/12) of the poverty threshold, about 116 euros in Romania and 1 764 euros in Luxembourg, varied hugely between countries.
Across all nations the rate was 37.3% with wide variations ranging from less than 27.0 % in Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Malta and Sweden to more than 60.0 % in Hungary, Cyprus, and Latvia.
Risk of poverty, another measure, defined as an income less than 60% of the median put 14.6% of the Swiss population at risk. 19.8% of single people, 24.1% of solo parents, 12.9% of couples with children, and 12.1% of couples without children were at risk. The risk for solo parents with a child under 18 rose to 30.8% and for those with two or more kids it was 31.6%. Others more likely to be at risk were renters, 19.8% compared to 8.3% of home owners, Italian speakers, 31% compared to 16.4% of French speakers and 13.0% of German speakers, and foreigners, 22.5% compared to 12.1% of Swiss.
Where foreigners came from mattered. Only 11.6% of those from northern and western Europe were at risk, while 22.4% for southern Europe were, and 30.8% of those from other countries were.
The risk-of-poverty income threshold for a single person in Switzerland in 2015 was CHF 30,073. For a couple with two children under 14 it was CHF 63,153. And for a single parent with two children under 14 it was CHF 48,116.
A European report in 2015 calculated that 17.3% of the EU-28 population was at risk of poverty on the same measure, higher than the Swiss figure of 14.6%. The highest at-risk-of-poverty rates were observed in Romania (25.4 %), Latvia (22.5 %), Lithuania (22.2 %), Spain (22.1 %) and Bulgaria (22.0 %). The lowest were in Finland (12.4 %), Slovakia (12.3 %), Denmark (12.2 %), the Netherlands (11.6 %) and the Czech Republic (9.7 %).