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How does the cost of living crisis in Switzerland compare to other countries?

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 13 Nov, 2022 Updated Sun 13 Nov 2022 14:40 CEST
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There are a lot of variables in calculating price increases. Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

A recent survey showed a third of Switzerland’s population is distressed over their economic situation amid the cost of living crisis. But how does the Swiss situation compare to neighbouring countries?

One in three people in Switzerland expect their financial situation to deteriorate, according to a survey released by Comparis price comparison site earlier this week. 

The main reasons for this dim outlook are rising costs, especially for healthcare insurance.  "In the spiral of inflation, the massive surcharges for basic insurance are omnipresent and fuel concerns about a deterioration in personal finances," said Comparis finance expert Michael Kuhn.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are Swiss health insurance premiums set to rise?

It is true that the higher-than-usual inflation rate is causing consumer prices to go up, so concerns about being able to afford basic products and services in an already expensive country are legitimate.

However, while facing a decidedly unpleasant prospect of higher costs in the coming months, the Swiss may be losing sight of one obvious fact: that they are doing much better than their EU neighbours.

The Local looked at the current situation in France, Germany, Italy and Austria in terms of inflation rates, recent increases in the price of food, energy, petrol, median wages, as well as unemployment rate, and compared them to the situation in Switzerland.

This is what we found out.

France

Inflation rate: 6.2 percent

Increase in the price of food: 11.8 percent, and in energy 19.2 percent.

A litre of fuel costs 1.87 euros (1.84 francs) Median monthly wage, gross: 3,085 euros (3,036) francs.

Median monthly wage, gross: 3,085 euros (3,036) francs.

Unemployment rate: 7.4 percent

Germany

Inflation rate: 10.4 percent

Increase in the price of food: 18.7 percent, and in energy 43.9 percent.

A litre of fuel costs 1.9 euros (1.87 francs).

Median monthly wage, gross: 3,975 euros (3,913 francs)

Unemployment rate: 5.5 percent

Italy

Inflation rate: 11.9 percent

Increase in price of food: 16.6 percent, and in energy 59 percent

A litre of fuel costs 1.6 euros (1.57 francs)

Median monthly wage, gross: 2,475 euros (2,435 francs)

Unemployment rate: 7.8 percent

Austria

Inflation rate: 11 percent

Increase in the price of food: 20.9 percent, and in energy 1.5 percent. (Austria largely relies on renewable sources)

A litre of fuel costs 1.8 euros (1.77 francs)

Median monthly wage, gross: 3,400 euros (3,344 francs)

Unemployment rate: 6 percent

Meanwhile in Switzerland…

Inflation rate: 3 percent

Increase in the price of food: 4.2 percent , and in energy, 27 percent (for 2023)

A litre of fuel costs 1.9 francs

Median monthly wage (gross): 6,650 francs

Unemployment rate: 1.9 percent

In conclusion…

Switzerland is doing significantly better than its neighbours in terms on inflation, increase in food prices, monthly wages, and unemployment.

It is also ahead of nearby countries (except for Austria) in terms of hikes in energy prices.

On the other hand, it is trailing France, Germany Italy, and Austria in price of petrol per litre, though only by a couple of centimes.

The only area where the Swiss are disadvantaged when compared to their neighbours is in the price they have to pay for the obligatory health insurance; the cost will increase by 6.6 percent on average in 2023, but will go up even more in certain regions.

READ MORE: Which Swiss cantons will see the biggest increase in health insurance premiums?

Monthly rates will vary based on residence, age, and the selected deductible amount, but it will cost on average 334.70 francs per adult.

Overall, however, the Swiss are by far better off in terms of their economy than neighbours.

So why are the Swiss worried about their financial situation?

It could be because they are not looking beyond their borders or comparing their situation with that of other countries.

This would surely put their own cost-of-living woes into a different perspective.

Instead, they compare their current situation, and even more so the one forecast for 2023, with that of previous years.

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/11/13 14:40

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