Immigrants twice as likely to struggle financially as Swiss

Immigrants in Switzerland are twice as likely to struggle financially in comparison with locals, a new study has found.

Immigrants twice as likely to struggle financially as Swiss
Swiss National Bank vice president Fritz Zurbruegg, SNB president Thomas J Jordan and SNB member of the board Andrea M Maechler pose in front of a giant reproduction of the new fifty Swiss franc bankn

The study showed immigrants were twice as likely to be in poverty than the Swiss. 

Children of first generation immigrants were also more likely to be in poverty than children of second-generation immigrants (six percent compared with three percent). 

READ: Immigrants trust the state and the police more than Swiss locals

As noted by the authors “The population with a migration background is on average financially and materially worse off than the population without a migration background.”

Immigrants were also far more likely to access social assistance. 

READ: Who is allowed to travel to Switzerland from outside the EU? 

While 2.3 percent of the local-born population accessed social assistance, 6.1 percent of immigrants did the same. 

The report, compiled by Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office, sought to compare the experience of Swiss locals and the country’s sizeable immigrant population. 

An estimated 25 percent of Swiss residents are immigrants. In larger cities like Zurich, the rate of residents who do not hold a Swiss passport is almost 50 percent. 

Struggles in finding appropriate housing

Immigrants or children of immigrants also struggle to find appropriate housing when compared to the Swiss. 

Immigrants are three times more likely to live in a house suffering from material deprivation than those whose background is Swiss. 

More than one in four (26 percent) of immigrants live in a neighbourhood which is perceived as “too noisy”. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


How the cost of living is set to keep increasing in Switzerland

Inflation and the war in Ukraine continue to impact the purchasing power of Swiss households. But how much more will you have to pay for basic services?

How the cost of living is set to keep increasing in Switzerland

Even though Switzerland’s inflation fell from 2.6 percent in April to 2.2 percent in May —  the lowest level since February 2022 — the cost of living is continuing to climb.

In fact, for the rest of this year and well into 2024, Swiss consumers will face higher costs for fixed expenses, such as utilities and other services.

In fact, according to the analysis carried out by Watson, the Swiss news platform, an average family with two children may have to spend over 2,600 francs more per year just for essential services.

We’ve compiled an overview of what costs are expected to go up, and by how much:


With the reference mortgage rate having been raised on June 1st from 1.25 to 1.50 percent, many tenants will see their rents increase by as much as 3 percent. 

What exactly does this mean?

An apartment that now rents for 2,000 francs a month would cost 2,120 francs after the rate increase —  amounting to an additional expenditure of over 1,400 francs a year.

But that’s not all: experts say that reference rates will rise again in 2024, which would mean rents could go up for many by 6 percent in total. 

READ ALSO: Why rents in some parts of Switzerland are now set to increase sharply

Health insurance premiums

While the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), which sets the annual health insurance premiums, has not yet announced the increase planned for next year (the figures are released in October), experts already predict another sharp hike.

According to Comparis consumer platform, the average increase should reach 6 percent.

Among the reasons cited by Comparis is the lower money reserve that insurance carriers must keep at a certain level at all times.
However, many health insurers “now lack a financial buffer to cushion current cost fluctuations,” Felix Schneuwly, health insurance expert at Comparis pointed out. 

READ ALSO: Why is Swiss health insurance set to get more expensive?

You have seen your bills for electricity consumption climb sharply from the beginning of this year — more so in some regions than in others. And these costs will remain steep — and even increase further for some users.

A typical household can now expect to consume 4,500 kWh and pay 1,215 francs for it, which corresponds to 261 francs more compared to 2022, though this amount can vary greatly by region.

Public transportation
If you rely on trams and buses to get around, you will have to dig deeper into your pockets to afford this service.

That’s because fares will go up from December 10th, 2023.

Single tickets, as well as day and multi-journey tickets will cost an average of 4.3 percent more.

As an example, Watson cited a round-trip fare between Bern and Zurich, which now costs 102 francs (full fare). From December 10th, it will increase to 106.50. Add to it similar hikes in other fares, and you will get the picture of how much more expensive travel will become.

At the same time, the price of the half-fare travelcard for adults will rise from 185 to 190 francs, and the GA travelcard for second class will go up from the current 3,860 to 4.080 francs.