Due to the high level of economic development, beautiful nature and effective actions of the authorities, Switzerland with enviable regularity occupies a leading position in all sorts of ratings of the best countries to live in the world. Even though settlements such as Geneva and Zurich, among the ten most expensive cities in the world, every year thousands of immigrants want to move to Switzerland and stay in this country forever.

Switzerland has a population of around 8.8 million people, of whom around 2.1 million are foreigners with permanent residence permits. In addition, there is a huge number of temporary foreign workers from Italy, France and Germany, who daily cross the Swiss border. Below, let's talk about prices and costs of living, tax rates, in-demand professions, salaries, pros and cons of immigration and living in Switzerland in 2024.

Living in Switzerland

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland

The standard of living in Switzerland is one of the highest in the world. This is evidenced by both the income of local residents, and the prices of goods and services. Despite the high cost of living, the financial situation of the Swiss is more comfortable than that of citizens in most European Union countries, including the most prosperous and economically powerful regions. Highlight the positive and negative sides of living in Switzerland.

Pros of living in Switzerland

  • Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world with a flourishing economy and wide prospects for career development or development of their own Swiss company.

  • Switzerland has three official languages, German, Italian and French, and most locals speak English well.

  • According to the authoritative London-based Legatum Institute, Switzerland is one of three countries with the best medicine in the world.

  • The ideal infrastructure and quality education system in schools and universities in Switzerland.

  • Switzerland is considered one of the most beautiful countries on the planet with stunning architecture, lakes, mountains, and clean air.

  • A huge number of places for outdoor activities, including bike trails, hiking trails and ski slopes.

  • Switzerland has a very low crime rate and is generally one of the safest countries in the world.

  • The comfortable geographical location of Switzerland in central Europe allows you to get to all European countries quickly and cheaply.

  • In Switzerland, great attention is paid to nutrition. Just stand about 450 kinds of local cheese. The food is always fresh, healthy and delicious. A stable financial system and bank secrecy.

Pros and cons of living in Switzerland

Cons of living in Switzerland

  • Living in Switzerland is very expensive.

  • On Sunday, everything is closed except for gas stations and small stores at train stations.

  • To get Swiss citizenship you need to legally live in the country for at least 10 years, and before January 1, 2018 it was required 12 years.

  • Finding a job in Switzerland is incredibly difficult. The competition in the local labor market is enormous.

  • To run a full business citizens of states outside the European Union in most cases must have a residence permit in Switzerland, category C, which is issued only after 10 years of residence in the country.

  • Some immigrants find it difficult to integrate into local society. Foreigners are often regarded with suspicion.

  • Citizens from countries outside the EU or EFTA are virtually impossible to buy property in Switzerland. Even most locals (about 60%) rent houses.

  • The Swiss are annoyingly scrupulous about the rules, many of which are not spelled out anywhere, much less the law.

  • All male citizens aged 19-26 serve in the army for 260 days, stretching over 10 years.

  • Switzerland has no access to the sea.

Prices and cost of living in Switzerland

Switzerland offers the highest quality of life, but not every foreigner can afford such luxury. For example, the cost of living in the most expensive cities in Switzerland – Zurich and Geneva, on average 15-25% higher than in London and 35-45% higher than in Paris. Much cheaper to live in the German-speaking cantons of Uri, Glarus and Thurgau, as well as the regions of Appenzell-Innerrhoden and Obwalden.

Not only to buy the property, but also to rent real estate in Switzerland is very problematic and expensive. Normal apartment in Zurich will cost on average 2-2.2 thousand euros per month, and in Geneva – 1.8-2 thousand. Rent a small family house in the suburbs costs about 4-5 thousand euros per month. Even in small towns in Switzerland monthly rent of a room costs at least 1-1,5 thousand euros.

Important. The average cost of real estate in Switzerland is 11,500 euros per square meter. Prices for health insurance vary between 400-500 euros per month.

Prices in Switzerland in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 3.10 Fr

  • Milk (1 L) – 1.68 Fr

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 6.09 Fr

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 23.87 Fr

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 2.36 Fr

  • Swiss cheese (1 kg) – 24.13 Fr

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 2.48 Fr

  • Apples (1 kg) – 3.69 Fr

  • Petrol (1 liter) – 1.91 Fr

  • Cab (1 km) – 4.00 Fr

  • Public transport tickets – 3.50 Fr

  • Monthly bus pass – 80 Fr

  • Utilities (85 square meters) – 234.73 Fr per month

  • Mobile telephone (month) – 49.52 Fr

  • Internet – 48.79 Fr per month

Note. Prices are quoted in local currency – Swiss francs (Fr). The exchange rate of one Fr today is 1.1 euros / dollar.

Taxes in Switzerland

Taxes in Switzerland

Taxes in Switzerland are levied at three levels – federal, cantonal and municipal. Therefore, in each region the tax rates and fiscal laws are somewhat different. In total there are 26 cantons and about 2,250 municipalities in the country. For example, in Geneva the maximum income tax rate is 19% and in Zurich 13%. Corporate tax is 24.16% and 21.15%, respectively.

Tax rates in Switzerland in 2024

VAT – 7.7%. Reduced rates are 3.7% (hotel accommodation), 2.5% (food, drinks, supplies of agricultural products, printed materials, medicines, cultural and sporting events), 0% (export, supply of goods and services to airlines).

Tax on dividends, interest – 35%

Corporate income tax – 24,41% (average rate). The federal budget receives about 8.5%.

Property tax – 0.13 to 0.90%


Taxable annual income Base tax Rate of the excess (%)
0 18,300
18,300 32,800 0.77
32,800 42,900 137.05 0.88
42,900 57,200 225.90 2.64
57,200 75,200 603.40 2.97
75,200 81,000 1,138.00 5.94
81,000 107,400 1,482.50 6.6
107,400 139,600 3,224.90 8.8
139,600 182,600 6,058.50 11
182,600 783,200 10,788.50 13.2
Более 783,200  90,067.70 11.5

Note. Rates are for one individual (no wife/husband and children).

Jobs and wages in Switzerland

Millions of job seekers from abroad dream of working in Switzerland, even from quite successful European countries as well as the United States and Canada. Moreover, thousands of foreigners from neighboring countries such as Germany, France and Italy cross the border daily to work in Zurich, Geneva and various other cities and then return home in the evening. All this only increases the level of competition in the local labor market.

First of all, foreign specialists attract wages in Switzerland, which is considered one of the highest in the world. The official minimum level in the country is not set, but in general the rate is not lower than 18.9 Fr per hour for unskilled workers and 22.85 Fr for skilled professionals. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the average wage in Switzerland in 2024 is 6,502 Fr per month before taxes.

Despite a strong economy and an unemployment rate of only 2%, it is extremely difficult to find a job in Switzerland. In addition, usually foreigners from third countries can get a Swiss work visa only within quotas, which are set annually at 7-8 thousand. Profession of a foreign applicant must be in high demand in Switzerland. First and foremost, it is an experienced technical specialist.

Higher education in Switzerland

Higher education in Switzerland

A Swiss degree opens the door to some of the largest employers in the world, since most schools provide students with not only theoretical knowledge but also practical skills. There are six Swiss universities in the top 200 of the prestigious QS World University Rankings 2024.

The best universities in Switzerland are the Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich), the Federal Polytechnic School (Lausanne) and the University of Geneva, which is the oldest institution of higher education in the country. Note that education in Switzerland is paid. Depending on the program and institution on average one year of study costs from 450 to 4,000 euros per semester.

Medicine in Switzerland

As mentioned above, the health care system in Switzerland is considered the best in the world after Luxembourg and Singapore. Almost all local residents have compulsory health insurance policies that cover a wide range of services. But sometimes the document does not give the right to free dental care and limits the choice of doctors.

In conclusion, the average life expectancy in Switzerland in 2024 is 83 years (men – 81 years, women – 85 years). The best cities to live in Switzerland are Bern, Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lugano and Lausanne.

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