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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Switzerland first in Quality of Life

It’s peaceful, healthy, and safe living in Switzerland, according to our expat survey respondents, as well as easy to get around.

Switzerland’s number one ranking in the Quality of Life Index is predominantly due to its high position in our subcategories for Travel and Transport as well as for Health, Safety, and Personal Well-Being – in both, Switzerland ranks 1st out of the 61 countries in our survey.

Participants appreciate the opportunity to travel while living in Switzerland: 69% of them rate it as very good compared to a global average of 47%. Further, it is not difficult to do so: three in four (76%) of our respondents feel Switzerland’s transport infrastructure is excellent; this figure is almost two and a half times the global average of 31%.

Switzerland also appears to be twice as peaceful (83% compared to a global 40%), which may explain why four out of five expats (80%) consider themselves very safe – a significantly higher proportion than the global 46%. Should medical care be necessary, half of our respondents (51%) are confident that it is of very high quality, whereas the worldwide average of such confidence is 27%.

Expat Statistics Switzerland

Expat Statistics Switzerland infographic
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Settling In

Switzerland does, however, struggle in some areas. It ranks 53rd out of 61 countries for Ease of Settling In. This appears largely due to the attitudes and friendliness of the locals towards foreign residents. Only about one in three participants (31%) is happy with the Swiss’ friendliness towards foreigners, which is noticeably less than the average of one in two (54%).

In particular, they find it hard to make local friends. On average about a third of our expats (35%) have this problem, but in Switzerland the figure is much higher at 58%.

Finances

The cost of living in Switzerland also seems to displease many respondents. Twice as many (63%) as the global average (30%) rate it negatively. As such, Switzerland is the fourth most expensive country on our survey in which to live, following Nigeria, Israel, and Norway.

Interestingly, however, more expats in Switzerland (54%) say they have “enough” or “more than enough” disposable income for daily life compared to the rest of the world (45%) – possibly because almost two thirds (64%) have a household income of over USD 100,000, which is significantly higher than the quarter of participants (25%) earning that much globally.

Thus, about three-quarters of Swiss expats (77%) rate their personal financial situation positively; the global average is lower at 67%. Accordingly, Switzerland ranks 8th out of 61 on the Personal Finance Index.

Expats in Switzerland are not worried about the state of the economy either. An incredible 71% of them rate it as excellent compared to the global 25%. And, with above-average satisfaction with working hours and work-life balance putting Switzerland at 4th out of 61 on the Working Abroad Index, it is unlikely our respondents are thinking of leaving anytime soon. In fact, over a third (37%) say they are planning on staying “possibly forever”. On average, about one in four expats around the world (26%) has similar plans.

Families

Particularly in the latter case, family-related factors are worth consideration. Switzerland ranks 20th out of 34 on the Family Life Index. Expats with kids find childcare options limited (54%) and costly (70%), significantly more so than the global averages of 31% and 35% respectively. The cost and availability of education options, however, are fairly comparable to the rest of the world.

Switzerland really stands out positively, though, with its very high quality of education – ranked 1st in the world – and the health and safety of kids. Nine in ten expats in Switzerland rate “children’s health and safety” positively.