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Social benefits halve Swiss poverty

Balancing the books is not always easy for parents Keystone

Almost 600,000 people live in poverty in Switzerland. Without social transfers – social help including pensions, health and unemployment benefits and housing allowances – this number would be more than twice as high. 

This content was published on October 17, 2017 - 16:23
swissinfo.ch and agencies, swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts

In “Poverty before social transfers”, a report published on Tuesday, the Federal Statistics Office calculated the proportion of the population who would have been affected by poverty if they had received no social assistance (not including pensions). 

In 2015, this would have been the case for 1.3 million people, or 15.9% of the population. That year, 570,000 people actually lived under the poverty line, defined as a monthly income of CHF2,239 ($2,285) for a single person and CHF3,984 for a couple with two children. 

Couples with young or multiple children benefit most from social transfersExternal link, the report found. Without this assistance, 18% of these families would be considered poor – double that of households without children (7.7%). 

As a result of social transfers, the poverty rate has also dropped considerably among single-parent families, the unemployed, and foreigners. Nevertheless, these groups remain the most affected by poverty, even after receiving welfare payments. 

The report was published Tuesday to coincide with the 25th annual UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, whose theme this year is based on “importance of the values of dignity, solidarity, and voice,” outlined by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in this video:

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