biggest worries Switzerland corona survey 2021
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Swiss Worry Survey: The Biggest Worries During the Corona Crisis

March 30, 2021 - Benjamin Manz

The Swiss Worry Survey 2021 by independent Swiss online comparison service moneyland.ch shows that just over half of the population is seriously worried about the corona crisis. However, residents are more concerned about mandatory health insurance premiums, the environment and retirement.

The coronavirus crisis has been with us for over a year now. But what are the biggest causes of worry for residents of Switzerland in these peculiar times? A representative survey of 1500 residents across Switzerland conducted by moneyland.ch asked participants to rate causes of worry on a scale of 1 (not at all worried) to 10 (extremely worried).

What people in Switzerland worry about

Mandatory health insurance premiums are the biggest cause of worry. A high 61% of participants rated health insurance premiums as a significant to severe cause of worry (ratings of 7 to 10).

The overall state of the environment is a significant to severe cause of worry for 59% of the population, followed by retirement in general (58%). These are followed by coronavirus (COVID-19), climate change, and the Old Age and Survivor’s Insurance (OASI), each of which is a significant to severe concern to 53% of the population. Next in line are occupational pension funds and population growth (each 50%), personal health and personal finances (each 47%), new viruses, unemployment, and personal income (each 44%), epidemics in general (42%), and the state of the Swiss economy (41%).

You can find an overview of all included causes of worry at the foot of this article.

Half of the population is worried about corona

“Even in the middle of the crisis, Switzerland’s population worries more about health insurance premiums, the environment and retirement than about the coronavirus,” states moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz.

The COVID-19 virus (corona) takes fourth place in the worry index. Still, 53% of residents – just over half the population – are very worried about corona. That is the same as the percentage of residents who are worried about climate change and the OASI.

Personal health is a major cause of worry, with 47% of residents worrying about their health. New viruses (44%) and epidemics in general (42%) fall somewhat below coronavirus on the worry index.

Personal finances and the Swiss economy are major worries

“The coronavirus is affecting more than just health. The partially unforeseeable economic impacts of the coronavirus are equally significant,” says Benjamin Manz. Financial factors like mandatory health insurance premiums (61%) and retirement (58%) are bigger causes of worry for Swiss residents than the coronavirus.

Pension funds are another major cause of concern, with half the population (50%) significantly to severely worried about their pension funds. Personal finances are a major cause of worry to 47% of residents, personal income and loss of employment are major causes of worry to 44% of residents, and 40% of residents are worried about rents for housing.

The state of Switzerland’s economy is a significant to severe cause of worry to 41% or residents. The state of the European Union is a major worry to 37% of Switzerland’s residents. Possible wars are a major worry for 37% of residents.

Global government indebtedness (35%) is worrisome for a somewhat smaller portion of the population, while “only” 27% of residents are significantly to severely worried about Swiss government debt. Negative interest rates too are only a major worry for around a third of the population (32%).

Worries about new technologies and surveillance

Alongside the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis, emerging technologies and the impending danger of a surveillance state are also ongoing points of discussion. “Switzerland’s population is somewhat less concerned about technological developments than it is about economic and health developments,” says Manz.

Artificial intelligence is a significant to severe cause of worry for “just” 28% of the population. Robots and automatization are a major worry for 27% of residents. Only a fifth of residents (20%) are majorly worried about 5G networks.  

The possible development of a surveillance state is a much higher worry, with 38% of the population being significantly to severely worried about this risk.

French-speaking Switzerland is more worried than German-speaking Switzerland

Differences between the urban and rural populations are generally insignificant. That only serves to accentuate the contrast between French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland. “Residents of French-speaking Switzerland are much more worried about many factors than residents of German-speaking Switzerland,” explains Manz.

Personal health and mandatory health insurance premiums are the biggest causes of worry in French-speaking Switzerland, with 78% of the population being majorly worried about those factors. These are followed by personal finances (75%), the state of the environment (65%), the OASI (64%), retirement in general (64%), climate change (63%), COVID-19 (62%), occupational pension funds (58%), rents for housing (57%), and loss of employment (55%).

The population of German-speaking Switzerland is generally less worried. Causes of worry also differ starkly from the French-speaking populace. “Personal finances and health are the biggest causes of worry in French-speaking Switzerland, but only take mid-field in the worry index for German-speaking Switzerland,” states Manz.

The biggest worries of residents of German-speaking Switzerland are the state of the environment (56%), retirement (55%), mandatory health insurance (54%), global population growth (50%), the OASI (49%), climate change (49%), COVID-19 (49%), occupational pension funds (46%), new viruses (42%), loss of employment (40%), and epidemics in general (40%). Personal finances (37%) and personal health (35%) are significantly lower down on the worry index than in French-speaking Switzerland.

Worry increases with age

The older the resident, the more worries they are likely to have. “The youngest group in the survey consisting of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 very clearly worries less,” says Manz. This also applies to factors which young adults should pay attention to like retirement, Swiss and global government indebtedness, negative interest rates and mandatory health insurance premiums.  

Worry about coronavirus (COVID-19) also increases with age. A significant 59% of adults in the oldest age group (adults aged 50 to 74) worries about the virus, compared to 46% of young adults. The difference is even more pronounced with worry about new viruses: 54% of adults in the oldest age group are worried about new viruses, compared to just 35% of adults in the youngest age group.

Immigration is another factor for which age plays a role. 40% of adults in the oldest age group are majorly worried about immigration, compared to 24% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 14% of adults aged 18 to 25 years old.

But the trend does not apply to all factors. For example, 55% of young adults worry about climate change, compare to 52% of adults between the ages of 26 and 49, and 54% of adults between the ages of 50 and 74.

Women worry more than men

In general, female participants are slightly more worried than male participants.

Women are significantly more worried about the possibility of wars – with 43% of women being significantly to severely worried about this compared to just 31% of men. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is major worry to somewhat more women (54%) than men (51%).  

The points on which women are less likely to worry than men are equally interesting. Men are more likely to worry about global population growth, the state of the EU, global government indebtedness, negative interest rates, and surveillance states.

Graphics (in German):
Switzerland’s biggest worries: As a PNG or interactive graphic
French-speaking Switzerland’s biggest worries: As a PNG or interactive graphic
German-speaking Switzerland’s biggest worries: As a PNG or interactive graphic
Biggest worries: Women: As a PNG or interactive graphic
Biggest worries: Men: As a PNG or interactive graphic
Biggest worries: Adults aged 18-25: As a PNG or interactive graphic
Biggest worries: Adults aged 26-49: As a PNG or interactive graphic
Biggest worries: Adults aged 50-74: As a PNG or interactive graphic

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