In 2016, 7.5% of Switzerland’s population survived on a income below the poverty line, defined as CHF 3,981 a month for a couple with two young children, CHF 3,039 for a couple without children and CHF 2,247 for a single person.
Among the 615,000 people encountering poverty in Switzerland in 2016, 140,000 were working.
Over the four years up to and including 2016, 12.3% of Swiss residents experienced one or more periods of poverty. For most (7.7%) it lasted one year. For 2.5% of the population it lasted for two years, and for 1.2% it lasted three. Only 0.9% experienced poverty for four years or more.
Most at risk of poverty, were foreigners from beyond Europe (36.6%), single parent households (40.3%), the poorly educated (51.1%) and those not working (69.7%).
After welfare these rates all dropped substantially to 10.4% for foreigners from beyond Europe, 13.1% for single parent households, 12.0% for the poorly educated and 14.4% for those not working.
Those over 64 were the age group most affected by poverty (86.2%) but also the group receiving the greatest boost from social payments. The rate of poverty for this age band dropped to 14.4% after welfare and state pension payments.
Among those employed the poverty risk was 7.3% in Switzerland, below the EU average (9.6%) and well behind Greece (14.1%), the european nation with the highest risk poverty while working.
The rate of severe material depravation in Switzerland among people working (1%) was the third lowest in Europe. Only Finland (0.7%) and Sweden (0.5%) were better. Greece (15.5%) had the greatest percentage of working poor. The EU average was 4.5%.