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Where to move in Switzerland to escape the high cost of living

Families living in canton Valais have the most disposable income across Switzerland. Keystone / Anthony Anex

Valais, the southwestern canton home to industrial, pharmaceutical and watchmaking firms, has been named the least expensive place for families with children to live in Switzerland.

This content was published on May 25, 2021 - 14:40
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Expat workers love Switzerland’s high wages and landscape but frequently complain about the exorbitant cost of living. The Credit Suisse bank has now produced a map of which areas have the lowest taxes, most affordable housing and best childcare rates.

While Valais comes out best for families, a handful of cantons in central and eastern Switzerland are the least expensive among all income groups, families, couples and single people.

Credit Suisse puts Appenzell Inner Rhodes (eastern Switzerland) and the central cantons of Uri and Glarus at the top of its affordability list overall.

The high cost of housing wipes out much of the low tax advantage in the multinational hub of Zug, the “Financial Residential AttractivenessExternal link” report states.

Large cities such as Zurich, Geneva and Basel “have a below-average financial appeal”, along with canton Vaud where food giant Nestlé has its headquarters.

“If family allowances, childcare costs, and family-specific tax parameters are included in the analysis of freely disposable income, it becomes apparent that, on balance, the canton of Valais offers the most favourable living conditions for couples with children,” says Credit Suisse.

“Geneva ranks at the bottom in the indicator of financial residential attractiveness for families. For families with childcare, however, Geneva gives up the last place to another urban canton, namely Basel City.”

The fifth edition of the Financial Residential Attractiveness report measured the disposable incomes of 120,000 sample households across the country, having deducted fixed costs, national and local charges.


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