Over 40 percent of Swiss households were in debt in 2020, FSO finds

Over 40 percent of Swiss households were in debt in 2020, FSO finds

A new report by the Federal Statistical Office has revealed that in 2020, nearly half the population of Switzerland held some form of debt. Alongside debts on cars and mobile phones, 5 percent of people were found to not pay their bills for energy, health insurance or Swiss taxes on time.

More than 40 percent of Swiss families hold debt

The FSO found that 42,9 percent of Swiss households held some form of debt in 2020. The most common type of debt was leases on cars, with 15,5 percent of the population still paying off their vehicles.

Loan debt was the second most common at 14,9 percent, followed by mortgages (12,1 percent), debt owed to family or friends (8,4 percent) and instalment payments (6,8 percent). In all, the FSO found that 7 percent of households had three or more types of debt accumulating and 5 percent could no longer pay their household bills on time.

COVID increased the amount of debt in Switzerland

When compared by age, the FSO found that, generally, the older someone was, the less debt they owed. People who haven't graduated from Swiss higher education were more likely to have debt than those who have and households with children were also more likely to be in debt, with a quarter of single parents in arrears.

The data was part of the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey, which found that indebtedness increased across Europe during the COVID pandemic. In all, 11,3 percent of the Swiss population lost their jobs or livelihoods during COVID, with the FSO confirming that higher unemployment caused the number of people in debt to increase significantly.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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