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One in seven Swiss risk poverty: survey

Meritxell Mir · 16 Dec 2011, 11:23

Published: 16 Dec 2011 12:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Dec 2011 11:23 GMT+01:00

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Nearly 14 percent of people in Switzerland were exposed to the risk of poverty in 2010, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Office of Statistics.

The ‘Statistics on income and living conditions’ show that single parents (32,8 percent) are at the gretest risk of slipping into a dire financial situation, followed by people without higher education (25,1 percent), and the elderly (23 percent).

Households with two adults and two children under 14 with a combined monthly income of less than 5,000 francs ($5,323) are also considered at risk of poverty.

The situation becomes more difficult with every extra child in the family, the survey shows. As an example, 7.1 percent of couples without a child were at risk, compared to a 21.4 percent risk for couples who had three or more children.

The Federal Office of Statistics also points out that a quarter of people living in households with children could not cope with an unexpected expense of 2,000 francs ($2,129).

For individuals, the poverty line in Switzerland is set at 2,400 francs ($2,554) a month.

In 2010, the average annual income per household in Switzerland was 47,567 francs ($50,654).

According to European Union standards, there is a risk of falling into poverty when yearly income falls below 60 percent of the national average.

Still, 53 percent of the people surveyed, all above 16, said they were “very satisfied” with their financial situation.

The research on income and living conditions was coordinated at a European level to study the distribution of income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions by means of comparable indicators. More than 25 countries participated.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

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