Poverty up to 7% among Swiss residents

Poverty, often hidden in Switzerland, is on the rise Keystone
This content was published on May 15, 2017 - 15:25 with agenices/urs

The number of people living in relative poverty in Switzerland is on the increase, but it is still below the European average.

Latest figures published on Monday by the Federal Statistics Office show that about 570,000 people live below the poverty threshold, including some 145,000 who have a paid job.

The office said the rate rose to 7% in 2015 from 6.6% in the previous year.

People without a paid job, singles, single parents and those with low professional skills are more likely to be poor.

Foreign nationals living in Switzerland who originate from countries outside Europe have the highest poverty rate - 11.7% - compared with the total population.

The rate is also above average among people over the retirement age of 65, but many of them rely on their savings to pay towards the cost of living, according to the statistics office.

The church charity Caritas says the latest figures are shocking but unsurprising.

It says the national government had recognised the need to act in 2014, but cantonal and municipal authorities, under pressure to implement spending cuts, had reduced welfare payments or programmes to prevent poverty.

Compared with an average of the 28 European Union member countries, Switzerland’s at-risk-of-poverty rate is nearly 2% lower.

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