It is widely believed that as the price of real estate climbs those on low incomes are forced out of city centres. A study by the University of Geneva, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office focused on the period between 2010 and 2014, shows this is not true in Switzerland.
Rich leaving the centres
Those earning the most were the most likely to move and tended to move out of city centres. Among wealthy residents the net flow was out of city centres. Among the poor the net flow went in the opposite direction, except in Bern. All central city zones saw net outflows and a decline in working-age residents.
Unsurprisingly, events most likely to boost the chances of moving were an increase in pay or the loss of a job.
Immigration status appeared to have little impact on mobility.
The study found that people in German-speaking cities move more than in cities across the rest of the country.
Rising economic segregation
Analysis found an increase in economic segregation over the period. Those leaving city centres tended to move either to areas where average incomes are high or where average incomes are low, with far fewer moving to areas with middling average incomes.
Everywhere when wealthy residents leave the centre they move to wealthy areas. In all the cities studied, with the exception of Zurich and Lausanne, low-income residents move to poorer communes when they leave the city centre. Compared to the wealthiest, low income residents are more likely to move to touristy, industrial or rural communes.
The largest increases in segregation were among the poorest and middle income groups. Segregation levels were highest in French-speaking cities and Basel, and were most pronounced among the poorest.