Identity under siege
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Identity under siege

The reform backlog, immigration and problems with the EU are perceived as threats. But there's still some very good news.

The reform backlog dominates, and this fits in well with the worry rankings and Switzerland's political priorities, which count pensions and health (including health insurance) among the most urgent problems to be solved. It's hardly surprising to find that a backlog of reforms is threatening Swiss identity. Federal Old Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHV) and healthcare are part of the social state that holds Switzerland together.

Immigration ranks second in the list of identity-threatening phenomena. It's practically a tradition for issues surrounding immigration to top the list of worries. In the inaugural Credit Suisse Progress Barometer, the statement "Immigration changes the makeup of our society" is rated as a development that ought to be slowed.

Things that symbolize Switzerland

EU problems are also perceived as potentially harmful to Swiss identity. With respect to social status and the question about the makeup of contemporary society, there is one result that should grab our attention: Twenty-three percent place themselves at the bottom of society. Twenty years ago, only 19 percent responded that they belonged in the lowest social group. It's fitting that this year more people identified "wages" and "new poverty" as the largest problems in Switzerland.

Good marks for personal well-being

These worries should not be underestimated, and neither should the latent dissatisfaction with the political system that is evident throughout the survey. Nevertheless, we should note that respondents simultaneously believe that they are doing very well. When asked about their own satisfaction, 89 percent give their lives a grade of five or higher (on a scale from zero to ten), and 42 percent even give a grade of eight or higher. There were similarly positive responses about their own financial resources. Despite the aforementioned worries about wages and new poverty, 92 percent rate their own economic situation as satisfactory, good or even very good.