In Switzerland, the revenue poverty line is income of CHF 27,108 (US$ 27,490) a year for someone living alone and CHF 47,880 (US$ 48,550) for a family of four.
In 2017, the percentage of Switzerland’s population living below the poverty line was 8.2% or 675,000 people. In 2016, the percentage was 7.6%.
Those most likely to be below the poverty line are those in single parent families (12.4%), those not working (22.3%), those with no more than a school education (12.9%) and those 65 or over (15.2%). Among those 65 or over the rate rises to 24.1% of those living alone.
Welfare payments reduce poverty substantially. A study in 2017 estimates the level of poverty would double without these transfers. In 2015, 15.9% instead of 7.0% of Switzerland’s population would have fallen below the poverty line without them.
Fortunately for most poverty in Switzerland is temporary. A study last year showed that while 12.3% of the population lived below the poverty in one of the four years from 2013 to 2016, 7.7% experienced poverty for one of those years, 2.5% for two of those years, 1.2% for three of the years and only 0.9% for the full four-year period.
The risk of poverty in Switzerland is lower than the EU average. In 2016, the percentage at risk of poverty in Switzerland was 14.7%, compared to an EU average of 17.3%.