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Which Swiss canton has the most millionaires?

The Local
The Local - [email protected]elocal.ch • 25 Jan, 2022 Updated Tue 25 Jan 2022 16:01 CEST
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A luxury car at the Geneva Auto Show in 2017. In some Swiss cantons, one in eight people are millionaires. Photo: HAROLD CUNNINGHAM / AFP

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.

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. 

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The Local 2022/01/25 16:01

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