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Swiss Worry Survey: What Switzerland Worries About

September 4, 2019 - Benjamin Manz

What have Swiss got to worry about? Independent online comparison service conducted a representative survey of residents of Switzerland to find out what they are most worried about. The results show that compulsory health insurance premiums, retirement funding and the environment are the biggest causes of worry in Switzerland. The youngest generation worries considerably less than older generations.

Parliamentary elections are coming up in October 2019. But what topics actually most concern residents of Switzerland? To find out, conducted an online survey of 1500 residents. Participants were asked to rate various possible sources of worry on a scale of 1 (not a cause of worry) to 10 (major cause of worry).

The results: “Health insurance premiums, the environment and retirement funding are the biggest sources of worry in Switzerland,” states Benjamin Manz, CEO of Swiss online comparison service Worry-levels are considerably higher in French-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking Switzerland, and among older adults than among younger adults. Women worry more than men do.

Biggest worry: Health insurance premiums

Nothing causes Swiss to lose sleep like compulsory health insurance premiums. 74% of survey participants indicated that compulsory health insurance premiums were a fair to major cause of worry (ratings of 7 to 10 points). “Interestingly, a higher percentage of residents are worried about compulsory health insurance premiums than personal health,” states analyst Silvan Wehrli.

Compulsory health insurance is followed by the general state of the environment (70% of the population is worried about this), the general state of retirement funding (66%), climate change (66%), the OASI (65%), occupational pension funds (61%) and individual’s personal financial situation (60%).

The following factors are also a source of worry for the majority of residents: Global population growth (59%), personal health (56%), personal salaries (55%) and loss of employment (51%). Other causes of worry for a significant portion of residents are the state of the European Union (48%) and rents (47%).

Less significant worries: mortgages, Brexit and state debt

Rates of immigration to Switzerland are a fair to major source of worry for 41% of the population, and 40% find foreigners in Switzerland to be a fair to major cause of worry. The state of the Swiss economy is a fair to major source of worry for 40% of residents. This is followed by global government debt (38%) and negative interest rates (37%).

Only 24% of the population is worried about personal mortgages. An even lower 21% finds Brexit to be a fair to major cause of worry. The same percentage (21%) is fairly to majorly worried about Swiss government debt.

Worried French-speaking Switzerland

Differences in levels of worry between urban and rural residents is generally not significant. A much more notable difference is seen between German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland. “Worry ratings for many different factors are higher among residents of French-speaking Switzerland,” says Silvan Wehrli.

Factors for which differences in fair to major worry ratings are particularly notable include rents (61% in French-speaking Switzerland compared to 40% in German-speaking Switzerland), personal health (79% compared to 45% in German-speaking Switzerland), compulsory health insurance premiums (80% compared to 70%), loss of employment (57% compared to 47%), the state of the Swiss economy (51% compared to 35%), personal salaries (74% compared to 46%) and personal financial situations (78% compared to 50% in German-speaking Switzerland.

But there are also factors which are a bigger source of worry for residents of German-speaking Switzerland than those of French-speaking Switzerland. These include rates of immigration to Switzerland, foreigners in Switzerland, global population growth, the state of the EU, Brexit, global government debt and negative interest rates.

Women worry about climate change and the environment

Women generally worry more than men – at least with regards to the factors accounted for in the survey. The biggest differences between men and women are seen in ratings for the environment and climate change. Climate change is a fair to major cause of worry to 70% of women, compared to 61% of men. The general state of the environment is a fair to major source of worry for 75% of women, compared to 64% of men.

Factors which men worry about more than women are global government debt, the state of the EU, global population growth, foreigners in Switzerland, rates of immigration to Switzerland and mortgages.

Older adults worry more than younger adults – with the exception of climate change and the environment

 “The Swiss worry survey reveals significant age-based differences,” states Silvan Wehrli. Worry levels across most factors drastically increase with age. The term “carefree youth” seems to apply to Switzerland’s young adult population. In some cases, differences in worry levels between age groups are extreme.

Only 52% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years old find compulsory health insurance premiums to be a fair to major source of worry – compared to 74% of adults aged 26 to 49 years old and 82% of adults between the ages of 50 and 74 years old. Only 25% of young adults find negative interest rates to be a fair to major source of worry, compared to 32% of adults between the ages of 26 and 49 years old and 48% of adults between the ages of 50 and 74 years old.

On the other hand, levels of worry about personal financial situations are similar across all age groups. “Young adults are more worried about the general state of the environment and about climate change than older adults,” concludes Silvan Wehrli. A high 74% of young adults worry about climate change, compared to 62% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 65% of adults aged 50 to 74.

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.