Swiss are wary of unemployment and immigrants

One in two Swiss people worries about becoming unemployed. Keystone

This content was published on December 2, 2014 minutes

More than half of Swiss people worry about unemployment. Other top concerns are immigration, retirement and asylum issues, according to a survey.

For its annual Worry BarometerExternal link, published on Tuesday, Swiss bank Credit Suisse surveyed 1,010 voters around the nation – asking each person to select five top concerns from a list of 34.

The results: 51% cited unemployment, followed by immigration issues (40%), retirement provisions (37%), refugees (26%) and health (23%).

Unemployment has topped the list every year since 2003.

“There is a high correlation between the actual unemployment rate and the perception of unemployment as a concern. We are far from the record highs posted in 1993 (89% – unemployment 4.5%) or, more recently, in 2010 (76% – 3.9%), although the current unemployment rate is quite high at 3%,” stated the report. 

Concerns about unemployment rose by seven percentage points, retirement by eight. But worries about personal safety dropped by seven percentage points, leaving just 17% of those surveyed to cite that as a top fear. 

The authors of the Worry Barometer said that the three-percentage-point increase in the fear of immigration was probably due to February’s vote to curb immigration

“The higher the number of foreigners living in Switzerland (currently at 23.8%, and even higher among 20–39 year-olds at 33.2%), the more respondents indicate that it is an issue that worries them,” the report said. Specifically, asylum issues are a worry among 26% of those surveyed, down two percentage points from last year – and much lower than in 2004, when a record 45% said asylum seekers were a problem in Switzerland. 

Angst about healthcare is far lower than when 64% of respondents said it worried them in 2001 – a record year. 

The report’s authors attributed the current 23% figure to the “successful battle against rising health insurance premiums”, adding, “It will be interesting to see how this ranking changes next year when premiums are set to rise again.”

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