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What Swiss Worry About

May 10, 2022 - Raphael Knecht

As far as Swiss are concerned, the coronavirus crisis is done and over with, the moneyland.ch Swiss worry study shows. Worries related to the Ukraine conflict dominate in 2022.

The annual Swiss worry study from moneyland.ch clearly shows that the Swiss largely consider the pandemic to be ended. The corona virus did not even land a place in the top 20 biggest causes of worry among residents of Switzerland. In the representative online survey conducted by moneyland.ch in April this year, only 23 percent of the 1500 participants said that the virus is a major worry for them.

Last year, 50 percent of participants found the corona virus to be a major worry, making it the sixth biggest cause of worry in Switzerland. Fear of unemployment has also eased a lot since last year. Urban residents are still somewhat more concerned about COVID-19 and other viruses than rural residents.

The Ukraine conflict is the biggest worry

The Ukraine conflict is now the biggest worry among residents of Switzerland. Military conflicts in Europe, a point which was previously not included in the moneyland.ch worry survey, took first place in this year’s survey. 62 percent of residents have major or very major concerns in this regard. Worries about climate change and Russia are the next runners up.

Table 1: The ten biggest worries in Switzerland in 2022

Rank Source of worry Portion of residents who are worried
or very worried about this
1 Ukraine conflict / War with Russia 62%
2 Climate change 57%
3 Russia 56%
4 The state of the environment 54%
5 Health insurance premiums 51%
6 Possible wars 50%
7 The OASI 46%
8 Nuclear war 46%
9 Retirement planning 45%
10 A third world war 45%

 

“General fear of possible wars is now one of the biggest worries in Switzerland,” observes moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz. A full half of the people who participated in the survey are now worried or very worried about possible wars – up from 37 percent a year ago.

Worries about rising health insurance premiums have notably declined: Climbing premiums have consistently been the single biggest source of worry in Switzerland over recent years – ahead of things like retirement, the environment, and COVID-19. Manz believes that worries about health insurance correlate directly with developments in health insurance premiums. “In contrast to 2022, 2023 is expected to bring a major spike in the cost of health insurance, which will likely drive insurance premiums back up the worry rankings.”

“Many financial concerns like old-age provision have also slid down the ranking ladder somewhat,” observes Manz. Just 40 percent of Switzerland’s residents are worried or very worried about their financial situations. That means money is not even among the top worries in Switzerland. Exception: Finances are the fourth-biggest source of worry for participants with personal wealth of less than 20,000 francs.

Women worry more than men

Many possible causes of concern are a bigger source of worry for women than men (see table 2). For example, 51 percent of women who took part in the survey are worried or very worried about the threats of nuclear war and a third world war. In contrast, only 39 percent of men are worried about these two hazards. Women are also notably more likely to worry about their finances and retirement planning.

Table 2: Worries by gender groups

Worried or very worried Women Men
Ukraine conflict / War with Russia 64% 59%
Climate change 60% 52%
Russia 57% 56%
The state of the environment 58% 51%
Health insurance premiums 52% 49%
Possible wars 55% 44%
The OASI 49% 42%
Nuclear war 51% 39%
Retirement planning 50% 39%
A third world war 51% 39%

 

Men, for their part, are more likely to worry about certain international topics than women are. For example, 30 percent of men are worried or very worried about global government debt, compared to just 21 percent of women. Certain countries, like China and the US, are also a bigger cause of worry for men than for women. Russia is the exception, with residents of both genders being equally concerned about that country.

Older adults are more likely to be afraid of Russia

A comparison of worries across different age groups shows that adults between the ages of 50 and 74 generally worry more than those in other age groups. A high 72 percent of residents in this age group find Russia to be a cause of worry, compared to just 56 percent across all age groups combined. “The current events in Europe likely affect older residents more profoundly because they revive the fears which were prevalent during the cold war, when Russia was considered to be the biggest threat to western Europe,” says Manz.

Adults between the ages of 50 and 74 are also disproportionately worried about the presence of foreigners in Switzerland and continued immigration. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, in particular, do not consider this to be a major concern.

Young people, on the other hand, are significantly more concerned about unemployment. 37 percent of participants between the ages of 18 and 25 say that they are worried or very worried about unemployment, compared to just 28 percent across the adult population of Switzerland as a whole. Residents in the young and middle-aged groups are also far more likely to worry about relationships and marriage than those above the age of 50.

French-speaking Swiss worry about their health

There are some huge differences between German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland. Residents of French-speaking Switzerland tend towards being more pessimistic, and are more likely to be worried or very worried about a given topic. “Cultural differences between Switzerland’s two biggest linguistic regions are clearly visible,” observes Manz.

The things which residents consider to be major worries also differ somewhat between French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland (see table 3). The biggest source of worry among French-speaking Swiss is their own health (64 percent). Only around half as many German-speaking Swiss (33 percent) are worried or very worried about their health.

Health insurance premiums are also a much bigger concern on the French-speaking side of the Röstigraben – the proverbial divide between French- and German-speaking Switzerland. “The higher concern about health insurance is probably linked to the fact that residents of the Romandie pay higher health insurance premiums,” believes Manz. While health insurance premiums remain a concern for German-speaking Swiss, other hazards took priority in this year’s worry rankings.

Table 3: Biggest worries in Switzerland’s linguistic regions

Rank German-speaking Switzerland French-speaking Switzerland
1 Ukraine conflict Your health
2 Russia Health insurance premiums
3 Climate change Climate change
4 The state of the environment Ukraine conflict
5 Possible wars Personal finances
6 Nuclear war The state of the environment
7 Health insurance premiums Your children’s future
8 A third world war Your salary
9 Retirement planning The OASI
10 The OASI Possible wars

 

More on this topic:
Detailed results of the Swiss worry survey (German PDF)

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Editor Raphael Knecht
Raphael Knecht was an analyst and a specialized editor at moneyland.ch until the end of February 2023. Since then, he is supporting the editorial team as a freelancer.