Families in Switzerland 'having fewer children' due to financial worries

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Families in Switzerland 'having fewer children' due to financial worries
Families in Switzerland are worrying about money more. Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Many families in Switzerland are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living increases, according to a new study.


The increasing cost of everyday goods, rising health insurance premiums, and higher rents - almost everything has become pricier in Switzerland in recent months.

Now a new study has shone a light on how families are feeling the pinch. The Family Barometer 2024, which was carried out by Pro Familia Switzerland and pension specialists at Pax, found that middle class families are affected as well as those with lower incomes. 

"It's not just low-income earners, but also the middle class who have long had to adjust their everyday lives," said Phillippe Gnaegi, Director of Pro Familia Switzerland.

Over half of those surveyed (52 percent) stated that their income was not enough or only just enough to live on.

READ ALSO: Just how 'rich' is Switzerland's middle class?

The financial situation is more strained for families in French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino than in German-speaking Switzerland.

Saving is not an option for almost a third of respondents. "If a child has to go to the dentist unexpectedly, it's hard to pay the bill," said Gnaegi, adding that falling into debt is a particular worry.

Health insurance premiums are clearly the most important issue for families in Switzerland, followed by higher consumer prices and inflation in general. In contrast, the issues of climate change, environmental protection, and energy supply have taken a back seat, and the coronavirus pandemic is practically no longer a concern for families.

READ ALSO: How you can save money on healthcare in Switzerland


Families are foregoing more children

To counteract these financial concerns, just under half of families are considering increasing their workload.

They are cutting back on holidays, restaurant visits and leisure activities such as the cinema and visiting museums. Some are even giving up having another child - around 15 percent of respondents cite costs as the main reason for not having more children. For 26 percent, the costs are at least one of several reasons.

Most families see more financial resources and support as the most important factors for improving their family life. This view is particularly strong among single-parent households and households with an income of up to CHF 120,000. More free time with the family and a lower level of stress would also greatly benefit family life, respondents said. 

READ ALSO : Can a family in Switzerland live well on a median salary? 

Respondents were fairly pessimistic about the future. A total of 79 percent expect the situation for families in Switzerland in general to deteriorate and 43 percent do not feel adequately protected in the event of a job loss.

The proportion of families expecting a sharp deterioration is particularly high in Ticino, among single-parent households and among households with an income of up to CHF 100,000.


The charity Caritas has also raised concerns.

"1.25 million people in Switzerland are at risk of poverty," said Niels Jost from Caritas, who added that wages need to be higher and health insurance premiums adjusted to help out families. 

Working from home makes it easier to combine family and career

But it's not all gloomy news. At 80 percent, the vast majority of families in Switzerland are still satisfied with their family life overall. 

Meanwhile, around 65 percent of respondents said they are satisfied with their work-life balance. Unsurprisingly, satisfaction tends to increase with higher income and is lower on average for families with babies and very young children. 

Opportunities to organise working hours flexibly and to work from home contribute most to the compatibility of family and career, the study found.

Families in German-speaking Switzerland and Ticino prioritise this point more than families in French-speaking Switzerland. Respondents with children up to the age of 12 and those in the higher income groups also prioritised the compatibility of work and family life more strongly.

Around 2,100 families living all over Switzerland were surveyed for the Family Barometer 2024 in November 2023. 


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