Average Swiss household income rises

The average monthly disposable income of Swiss households exceeds 7,000 francs and annual savings amount to more than twice that amount, according to latest government figures released on Monday.

Average Swiss household income rises
Photo: Yoshiko Kusano/Photopress

Net income averaged 7,112 francs ($7,490) in 2012, up from 6,825 francs two years previously, the federal statistics office said in a report.

It found that average families in Switzerland were able to save more than 15,800 francs a year.

The study said that work was the primary source of household income, accounting for 75 percent of gross revenue (before taxes and obligatory deductions).

Pensions, annuities and social benefits accounted for the second major source of revenue (18.4 percent) , while interest and dividends accounted for just 4.9 percent.

The statistics office said that the income is not evenly distributed with six out of ten households earning less than the average.

Housing and energy accounted for the biggest household expenditure, averaging 1,500 francs a month, almost 15 percent of gross revenues, a proportion that has remained stable since 2006, the figures showed.

Taxes accounted for around 1,200 francs a month, the largest single share of obligatory deductions that totalled 2,950 francs a month (29 percent of gross income).

These deductions include social insurance, unemployment insurance, pensions and health insurance,

Other expenditures included transport (eight percent), leisure and culture (6.4 percent), food and non-alcoholic drinks (6,3 percent) and 5.4 percent towards restaurants and hotels.

After accounting for expenses, average households were able to save 1,318 francs a month, around 13 percent of gross revenue.

But the statistics office noted that families with gross income of less than 5,000 francs a month are generally not able to save anything.

Their expenditures are often greater than their revenues.

Households of retirees accounted for a majority in this category, with many of them financing their expenses through life savings.

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Here’s how much tax Swiss people can expect to pay in a lifetime

Swiss daily the NZZ recently crunched the numbers to work out that an average worker in Switzerland could pay a grand total of €1,144,000 in taxes over the course of a lifetime.

Here's how much tax Swiss people can expect to pay in a lifetime
Photo: Depositphotos

The paper came up with the figure by creating a fictitious taxpayer from Aarau in the canton of Aargau where taxes are not particularly high or low. This fiscal John Doe began his working life earning the median Swiss income of 5,200 francs a month, a figure which climbed to 89,000 a year by the end of his 45-year-working life.

His total lifetime tax, meanwhile included everything from money spent on cigarettes when he was young to the 39,000 in tax payed to the church.

And if the sum of €1,144,000 seems large, it is offset by annual lifetime earnings of 3.7 million francs up until retirement age.

The total tax money might not go as far as you think either. As the NZZ pointed out, the 28,000 francs its taxpayer would give over for roadbuilding in a lifetime would pay for 36 centimetres of motorway, while the 241,000 handed over to the local municipality could pay for three BMW police patrol cars.

We thought this was a good occasion to look at some other surprising Swiss stats.

24.6 percent

That is the figure for foreigners as a percentage of the total Swiss population and it compares to 10.5 percent in Germany, 6.6 percent in France and 8.6 percent in the UK. Of course, this figure has to be viewed in the context of the difficult and lengthy process of obtaining a Swiss passport.

Read also: How to apply for Swiss citizenship in 2018

Early this year, for example, Switzerland announced it would simply naturalization procedures for third-generation foreigners, that is people who were born in Switzerland and may have spent their lives here, but do not have Swiss citizenship because their parents and grandparents did not. 

File photo: Martin Abegglen


This is the number of critically endangered species in Switzerland according to the Federal Office of the Environment (FOEN). This means they are near extinction in the country. “Such species tend to have an extremely restricted or fragmented range in this country, arise in significantly reduced population sizes or are only represented by a few individuals,” the environment ministry states. The figure of 554 is 5.3 percent of all species. It is a group that includes the viperine snake and the natterjack toad. 

10.5 kilogrammes

This is how much chocolate Swiss people eat on average every year. That’s equivalent to 105 100-gram blocks of chocolate a year, or almost exactly two a week. It doesn’t seem to be doing too much damage. Life expectancy in Switzerland was at 83.4 years for both sexes in the period 2000–2015 according to the World Health Organization. That is second only to Japan.


A recent wealth report by global recent estate consultants KnightFrank found the amount of money being held in Switzerland fell by 8 percent in the three years up to June 2017, noting that changes to bank secrecy laws and negative interest rates in 2015 might be the cause. But the report also found the number of multimillionaires with net assets above $5 million was up to 52,950 in 2017, a steep rise from 47,000 of a year earlier.


This is the number of cows in the country, according to the Swiss government. They were spread across 33,000 agricultural holdings in 2016, down from 48,000 in 2000. With 8.42 million people in Switzerland, that is about one cow for every 12 inhabitants. Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of cow bells.

Photo: Depositphotos

Read also: Swiss cows leap for joy of spring


This was the average disposable income in Swiss francs of household incomes in 2015. Disposable income is calculated by deducting compulsory expenses including taxes, social insurance, health insurance and pensions from gross revenue, which includes salaries and bonuses, plus income from property, savings and investments.

In 2015 compulsory expenses rose to 2,990 francs or 30 percent of gross income, with taxes comprising the largest part of that, at 12 percent.

That same year, just 8.4 percent of Swiss people said they could not afford to go on a one-week holiday and 1.4 percent said the could not afford a full meal every second day, against 7.1 percent in Germany and 11.8 percent in Italy.

However, a report released in 2017 showed that around 500,000 Swiss people, or around seven percent of the population were living below the poverty income threshold. This means they could not pay for the “goods and services necessary for a socially integrated life” which in 2015 applied to those with a monthly income below 2,239 francs for a single person or 3,984 for two adults and two children.