Children and divorce increase risk of welfare reliance

It's often single mothers who need public welfare payments to get by Keystone/Christof Schuerpf

Single mothers as well as divorced men are most at risk of dependence on welfare payments in Switzerland. The latest figure shows an increase in the number of welfare beneficiaries.

This content was published on November 8, 2017 - 10:17 with agencies/urs

A survey conducted in 14 cities and towns last year found that the group of beneficiaries continues to grow and mainly live in towns and suburban regions.

The bilingual German-French town of Biel/Bienne remains top of the list with a rate of nearly 12%.

The reasons for the latest increase in welfare beneficiaries of 5.2% is the growing population, higher unemployment and more people who are no longer eligible for public unemployment payments, experts said.

The study found that the majority of welfare beneficiaries have Swiss nationality, but a growing number of immigrants from outside Europe rely on payments.


In many cases they are people with refugee status or with a temporary residence permit living in towns, officials said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The Association of Swiss Cities and TownsExternal link, which commissioned the report, reiterated the need to boost programmes that encourage integration into the labour market in an effort to limit the risk of poverty.

On average, beneficiaries receive welfare payments over a 42-month period. This could be reduced considerably if the authorities intervened an at early state, experts argue.

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