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indicator value unit
Population 8.5 mil.
Visitors per year 8.6 mil.
Renewable energy 20.5 %

How’s Life?

Switzerland performs well in many dimensions of well-being relative to other countries in the Better Life Index. Switzerland outperforms the average in income, jobs, education, health, environmental quality, social connections, safety and life satisfaction. These assessments are based on available selected data.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Switzerland, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 39 697 a year, more than the OECD average of USD 30 490 a year.

In terms of employment, about 80% of people aged 15 to 64 in Switzerland have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 84% of men are in paid work, compared with 76% of women. In Switzerland, nearly 0% of employees work very long hours in paid work, below the OECD average of 10%.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Switzerland, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, higher than the OECD average of 79%. However, completion varies between men and women, as 90% of men have successfully completed high school compared with 88% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 498 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 488. On average in Switzerland, girls outperformed boys by 8 points, above the average OECD gap of 5 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Switzerland is around 84 years, three years higher than the OECD average of 81 years. Life expectancy for women is 86 years, compared with 82 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 10.1 micrograms per cubic meter, below the OECD average of 14 micrograms per cubic meter. In Switzerland, 96% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, higher than the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Switzerland, where 94% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, more than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 45% during recent elections. This figure is one of the lowest rates in the OECD, where average turnout is 69%; this, however, does not take into account Switzerland’s highly participatory form of direct democracy. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 53% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 38%.

When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Swiss people gave it a 7.5 grade on average, higher than the OECD average of 6.7.


For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.




OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Switzerland

OECD’s periodic surveys of the Swiss economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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Switzerland in Detail