For members


Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?

Most of us are curious about how the ‘other half’ live in Switzerland - but how about where? These Swiss cantons are home to the most millionaires.

Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?
A luxury car at the Geneva Auto Show in 2017. In some Swiss cantons, one in eight people are millionaires. Photo: HAROLD CUNNINGHAM / AFP

Switzerland is known for its wealth. Although most Swiss residents are likely to be viewed as ‘rich’ on a world-wide basis, it is also home to more ‘mega-rich’ people per capita than any other nation. 

READ MORE: This is how many millionaires live in Switzerland

More millionaires per capita

While precise estimates are difficult to come by, Switzerland is home to the fourth largest number of millionaires (based in US dollars) of any country in the world. 

According to pre-pandemic estimates by Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s 810,000 millionaires places it fourth after the United States (15 million), China (1.3 million) and Japan (1.1 million). 

But it is on a per capita basis where Switzerland’s shiny wealth really captures the eye, with Switzerland’s population far smaller than the United States, China and Japan. 

There are 62 millionaires for every 1,000 Swiss taxpayers. 

This has increased from 11 per 1,000 taxpayers in 1969. 

But the location of those millionaires – i.e. in which of Switzerland’s 26 cantons they live – may be surprising, both to Swiss residents and those abroad. 

Zug and Schwyz top the list per capita – with Zurich having the most in total

The small, central cantons of Zug and Schwyz have beaten out the larger, better known cantons like Zurich and Geneva when it comes to the amount of millionaires on a per capita basis. 

According to analysis of government figures completed by Swiss tabloid Blick, one in eight residents of these cantons are millionaires. 

This compares with one in 16 per 1,000 taxpayers for the rest of Switzerland. 

There are 132 millionaires per 1,000 taxpayers in Zug and 125 per 1,000 in Schwyz. 

This is followed by Nidwalden (104), while Switzerland’s least populous canton is in fourth place: Appenzeller Innerrhoden (93). 

Zurich, Switzerland’s most populous canton, is in fifth place – which also means it has the most millionaires in total. 

There are 92 millionaires per 1,000 taxpayers in Zurich. 

The highest-placing French-speaking canton is Geneva, where there are 62 millionaires per 1,000 taxpayers, followed by Vaud with 57. 

Why Zug and Schwyz?

While they’re picturesque, it may seem somewhat surprising that these two cantons attract the most millionaires on a per capita basis. 

However, a major reason for this is these cantons low tax rates, which attract high-income individuals from other parts of the country and indeed the world. 

Christoph Schaltegger, professor of political economy at the University of Lucerne, told Blick that this was a good thing for smaller cantons. 

“It gives remote and structurally weak regions the opportunity to assert themselves against attractive urban centres,” he said. 

Member comments

  1. What is the definition of a millionaire? Does it include property and pension funds, in which case I can see why so many reach the threshold. Even with a couple of million, you don’t always feel rich in Switzerland. I’d suggest a better definition is who can lay their hands on a liquid million in 24 hours!

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


Swedish Fiscal Policy Council criticises ‘too large’ electricity subsidy

Sweden's Fiscal Policy Council, the government's own council of experts on financial policy, criticised the 60 million kronor energy price subsidy in its yearly report, presented on Wednesday.

Swedish Fiscal Policy Council criticises 'too large' electricity subsidy

“I don’t think all the households with dramatically high energy prices think the subsidy was too large,” Sweden’s finance minister, Elisabeth Svantesson, said after the report was published. 

The council argued that it would have been better to offer a less extensive subsidy, with the government instead focusing more on support aimed at particularly vulnerable households.

“If they had not offered such large subsidies in those areas, they would have had the opportunity to do other things which we believe would have been better for the economy,” said Lars Heikensten, chairman of the Fiscal Policy Council.

The money could, according to the council, have also been used for measures aimed at increasing economic growth – measures which the report states are “conspicuously absent”.

The council’s vice chairman, Lisa Laun, agreed that there was good reason to give a certain amount of economic support to households. She did, however, point out that subsidies in general are problematic, as the best way to lower electricity prices is to reduce the demand for electricity.

Svantesson argued that the government had instead made sure that households were partly refunded for the cost of capacity charges, adding that it would “not have been possible” to give more tailored support to vulnerable households.

“We used the capacity fees to refund the fees households and companies had paid in,” she said.

The council argued, however, that the government would have been better able target measures to vulnerable households in its budget, without also fuelling inflation, if the energy price subsidy had been less extensive.

The price subsidy announced in January, which compensated for households across the country for energy prices in November and December last year, came in for particularly harsh criticism, as households in southern Sweden had already received compensation through the subsidy announced by the previous government prior to the election.

Svantesson, however, said that the price support subsidy announced in January had not compensated users in southern Sweden twice, as it covered a different time period.

The council was also critical of the energy price support subsidy offered to companies in southern Sweden, arguing that companies to a large extent have been able to pass on their increased energy costs to consumers.

“High consumers of electricity also often have long, fixed energy contracts, meaning that there’s a risk that the subsidy for companies actually exceeds the increased costs they’ve paid for electricity,” Laun said.

The government wanted to subsidise companies as soon as possible, Svantesson explained.

“Of course, there’s almost always room for improvement. If we offer some type of energy subsidy in the future, it’s good to take these viewpoints into consideration.”