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COST OF LIVING

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!

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For members

LEARNING FRENCH

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

It's a very common experience to have to give out your phone number or email address in Switzerland, or take down the address of a website, so here's how to do this if you're in the French-speaking part of the country.

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

The correct names for punctuation marks used to be fairly low down on any French-learner’s list, but these days they are vital whenever you need to explain an email address, website or social media account.

Likewise if you want to talk about websites, or social media posts, there are some things that you need to know. 

Punctuation

Obviously punctuation points have their own names, and making sure you get the periods, dashes and underscores correct is vital to giving out account details. 

Full stop/period . point. Pronounced pwan, this is most commonly heard for Swiss websites or email addresses which end in. ch (pronounced pwan ce ash).

If you have a site that ends in .com you say ‘com’ as a word just as you would in English – pwan com.

At symbol @ Arobase – so for example the email address [email protected] would be jean pwan dupont arobas bluewin pwan ce ash.

Ampersand/and symbol & esperluette

Dash – tiret

Underscore _ tiret bas 

Forward slash / barre oblique

Upper case/capital lettersMajuscule (or lettre majuscule)

Lower caseminiscule

The following punctuation points are less common in email or web addresses, but worth knowing anyway:

Comma , virgule. In French a decimal point is indicated with a comma so two and a half would be 2,5 (deux virgule cinq)

Exclamation mark ! point d’exclamation – when you are writing in French you always leave a space between the final letter of the word and the exclamation mark – comme ça !

Question mark ? point d’interrogation – likewise, leave a space between the final character and a question mark 

Brackets/parentheses ( ) parenthèse

Quotation marks « » guillemets 

Numbers

If you need to give your phone number out, the key thing to know is that Swiss-French people pair the numbers in a phone number when speaking.

So say your number is 079 345 6780, in French you would say zero septante-neuf, trois-cents quarante-cinq, soixante-sept, huitante (zero seventy-nine, three hundred forty-five, sixty-seven, eighty ).

Mobile numbers in Switzerland  begin with 079 or 078 (zero septante-neuf or zero septante-huit).

Social media

If you want to give out your Twitter or Instagram handle, the chances are you might need to know some punctuation terms as described above.

Otherwise the good news is that a lot of English-language social media terms are used in Switzerland too.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have the same names in Switzerland and have entered the language in other ways too, for example you might describe your dinner as très instagrammable – ie it’s photogenic and would look good on Instagram.

On Twitter you can suivre (follow), aimer (like) or retweet (take a wild guess). You’ll often hear the English words for these terms too, though pronounced with a French accent.

There is a French translation for hashtag – it’s dièse mot, but in reality hashtag is also very widely used.

Tech is one of those areas where new concepts come along so quickly that the English terms often get embedded into everyday use before the French-speakers can think up an alternative.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local

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