Which Swiss towns offer residents the highest disposable income?

Which Swiss towns offer residents the highest disposable income?

Which towns in Switzerland offer their residents the highest disposable income? A new study from the Institute for Swiss Economic Policy (IWP) has revealed which parts of the alpine nation leave residents with the most to spend once rent, fees and taxes are all taken away.

Disposable income: Which Swiss towns offer the best deal?

To create the study, the IWP, along with 20 Minuten, analysed how much individuals and families in Switzerland would have in disposable income every year in 2.135 different municipalities. Disposable income in this case refers to how much income people have left in each location, once the cost of renting, duties, fees, subsidies and taxes are all taken into account.

The study is deep as well as broad, with the IWP analysing the most cost-effective towns and cities in Switzerland for various incomes. Here’s what they found for individuals:

50.000 francs a year: Canton Vaud is the place for you

For individuals who earn 50.000 francs a year, less than the average salary in Switzerland, a community just behind Lake Neuchâtel was found to be the most cost-effective. In the 200-resident-strong village of Fontaines-sur-Grandson (Vaud), low-income residents pay an average of 8.517 francs a year in rent (for the cheapest accommodation available, like a room share) and just 4.605 francs in taxes.

This means low-income residents keep around 57 percent of their gross income a year, totalling 28.661 francs. The Vaudois towns of Mauborget (28.641 francs) and Tévenon (28.612 francs) rounded up the podium places.

Samedan unaffordable for most low-income residents

By contrast, the study found that the most expensive place for an individual with a 50,000-franc salary is Samedan in the Engadine valley of Canton Graubünden. There, average annual rental costs came in at 33.000 francs and taxes totalled 3.210 francs, meaning in essence, those with such a low income cannot afford to live there.

80.000 Swiss francs a year: Set your sights on Auenstein

Moving up to individuals with an annual income of 80.000 francs - roughly the average Swiss salary - the best value for money place can be found nestled between the Aare River and the nearby mountains: Auenstein. In the town in the Brugg district of Aargau, singles with an 80.000-franc income can expect to pay 15.007 francs a year in rent and 8.865 francs a year in taxes, leading to a disposable income of 46.835 francs or 59 percent of gross income.

Auenstein's neighbour Thalheim followed in second place with a disposable income of 46.824 francs a year (59 percent), while Ebnat-Kappel in Canton St. Gallen rounded out the podium places with 46.683 francs (58 percent). 

Engadine is the most unaffordable for average earners

Samedan was also found to be the most expensive place for average earners. Those earning 80.000 francs a year would only have 24.712 francs left to spend or 31 percent of gross income, once taxes and rent are deducted.

130.000 francs a year: Schwyz is the place to go

Moving up again, individuals with a 130.000-franc a year salary stand to save the most if they move to Muotathal in Canton Schwyz. There, residents are afforded a disposable income of 82.000 francs a year, or 63 percent of gross income. Zuzwil (St. Gallen, 63 percent) and Silenen (Uri, 62 percent) followed close behind.

Samedan goes three for three as most expensive place in Switzerland

You may be noticing a pattern here: once again Samedan was the most expensive place for singles to live, offering a disposable income of 55.277 francs out of the 130.000-franc pot. This means that if someone moved from the Engadine community to Muotathal, they would save 26.000 francs a year.

High rents by no means a deterrent, argues Samedan mayor

Speaking to 20 Minuten, Samedan Mayor Peter Niggli said that “the Engadine is generally an expensive place” that makes up for it with its high quality of life. “Expensive rents are by no means a deterrent for people, in Samedan, residents can go biking or marathon running in spring, summer and fall and skiing or cross-country skiing in winter, all surrounded by fresh mountain air,” he noted.

The Mayor added that they was launching some programmes to try and make rental costs cheaper in Samedan. As the region attracts many young people during the winter, who come to the Engadine to fill jobs during the ski season, the town now offers a cheap apartment programme for those under 25 - though even then, rental costs hover around 1.000 francs a month.

For more information, and to see which Swiss towns and cities are financially attractive for families, check out the series of reports from 20 Minuten.

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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