How much do you need to earn to be considered rich in Switzerland?

How much do you need to earn to be considered rich in Switzerland?

In a country well known for its high cost of living, many residents and expats may wonder exactly how much money is required to be considered wealthy in Switzerland. Luckily, a new report from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has the answer.

Lower, middle and higher incomes in Switzerland

Like in other countries, having a lower, middle or higher income in Switzerland is a status that is strictly defined by the government. According to the FSO, someone is considered "middle income" if their salary or gross income is between 70 and 150 percent of the national median income. 

Low income status is given to those whose earnings are between zero and 70 percent of the median gross income, while someone is considered wealthy or as having a higher income if their earnings exceed 150 percent of the median.

Who is considered rich in Switzerland?

According to the latest data, to be considered rich in Switzerland, a single person would have to have an income of at least 8.508 francs a month before tax, or 102.096 francs a year. For a couple with two children, the pre-tax monthly income threshold increases to more than 17.867 francs, or 214.404 francs a year.

As of 2021, 20,6 percent of the Swiss population have a "higher income". On average, the pre-tax income of the wealthiest 20 percent is 12.260 francs a month, leading to an estimated disposable income of 8.205 francs.

The vast majority of Swiss residents are middle income

The Federal Statistical Office noted that the vast majority of people in Switzerland (57,6 percent) are classed as having a middle income. As of 2021, individuals who earn between 3.970 and 8.305 francs a month before tax are given the status by the government. For couples with two children, this increases to between 8.338 and 17.867 francs.

Over the last 20 years, the average middle-income salary has increased from 5.101 francs a month in 2001 to 5.913 - a 15,9 percent increase. This means that middle-income salaries have risen faster than inflation in Switzerland, which totalled 7,71 percent between 2001 and 2021. However, the FSO was quick to mention that there were some years - namely 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2020 - when average middle incomes stayed the same or fell.

Wealthiest in Switzerland have seen incomes rise fastest

During the same period, the average monthly earnings of lower-income people in Switzerland only rose from 2.718 francs in 2001 to 2.997 francs in 2021, a just-higher-than-inflation rise of 10,2 percent. At the same time, the average income of the wealthiest has increased by 17 percent, from 10.470 to 12.260 francs a month.

For more information, check out the official study.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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