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Credit Suisse Worry Barometer 2020. What the Swiss are concerned about.

The coronavirus pandemic and its consequences rank at the top of the list of Swiss concerns in 2020. This is the first time in the history of the Worry Barometer that an entirely new issue has so clearly topped the list of people's worries. Following in second and third place are AHV/retirement provision and the issue of unemployment.

Download all final reports and infographics

As in previous years, Credit Suisse commissioned the research institute gfs.bern in 2020 to conduct a survey to determine the issues that worry Swiss citizens the most and to find out what they consider to be the key features of Swiss identity. Respondents were asked to list their top five concerns and, with 51 percent of respondents naming the coronavirus pandemic, this new issue ranks first among people's worries. AHV/retirement provision (37 percent) came second, followed by (youth) unemployment (31 percent) – a concern that is likely related to worries about the ramifications of the pandemic.

For the past two years, environmental issues and climate change have been among the top five concerns in Switzerland, and in the year of the coronavirus pandemic they still rank fourth (29 percent), as they did last year. Next, in fifth place, is the topic of foreigners and immigration (28 percent, -2 pp). When asked which problem needs to be addressed most urgently, respondents again mention the pandemic and its effects most often (18 percent), followed by environmental protection/climate change (12 percent, unchanged from last year).

 The top 10 worries of the Swiss in 2020

Anticipated consequences of the pandemic

When asked what consequences of the coronavirus pandemic will still be felt in Switzerland three years from now, 78 percent of respondents indicate that they expect to see higher unemployment numbers, and 59 percent anticipate an unfavorable impact on retirement provision. This suggests that overall, the pandemic is a major factor in people's worries in 2020. Most people also expect there to be negative effects on tourism in Switzerland, on the monitoring of Swiss citizens and on the country's export economy until 2023.

Changes expected until 2023  due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Switzerland's national security

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the spring of 2020, it laid bare the vulnerability of today's globalized society and its global production processes and supply chains. The crisis is providing a new perspective on what security means in today's world. When asked about the crucial aspects of Switzerland's security, respondents mention most frequently a secure energy supply (an average of 8.1 points on a scale of 0 to 10), self-sufficiency in medical products (8.0) and a reliable supply of goods (7.9), all of which are aspects of supply security. This is in keeping with the fact that a large majority (87 percent) is somewhat or fully in agreement with the idea that certain production processes – for example for medical products or spare parts – should be brought back to Switzerland with government support, which would increase supply security, even if this is not cost-effective.

Supply security: Shifting production  processes to Switzerland

Greater trust in political institutions

After a sharp decline in trust in practically every administrative and political institution last year, confidence is increasing somewhat in 2020. For the third time in a row, the police force enjoys the highest level of trust of all of the institutions included in the survey (70 percent of the respondents say that they trust the police). Ranking second, for the first time, is the Federal Council (68 percent, a striking increase of 18 percentage points). Confidence has also increased in the Federal Assembly (Council of States: 51 percent, +7 pp; National Council: 48 percent, +8 pp) and public administration (48 percent, +8 pp). During the coronavirus crisis, the Swiss army has been mobilized to a level not seen since World War II. Yet in contrast to the increased confidence enjoyed by the Federal Council, the deployment of the Swiss armed forces to combat the crisis has not been reflected in a higher level of trust. On the contrary: Trust in the army (48 percent) is at its lowest level since 2012. Confidence in the church (21 percent), the EU (19 percent) and free newspapers (17 percent) remains low.

 Confidence in Swiss institutions in 2020

People still feel good about their personal economic circumstances

At the time of the survey in July and August 2020, a majority (65 percent) of voters described their personal economic circumstances as good or very good, while another 27 percent described them as satisfactory. Overall, this is a slight improvement over 2019. Looking forward, a clear majority (81 percent) of voters remain optimistic that they will be able to maintain (68 percent) or exceed (13 percent) their current level of well-being. It is striking, though, that there has been a significant increase since 2019 in the percentage of people who expect their personal economic circumstances to worsen or who express uncertainty about their future situation, from 13 percent to 19 percent. This is the highest percentage since this question was added to the survey in 1995. Similarly, a larger share of respondents than ever before (11 percent) is worried about losing their jobs in the next 12 months. This percentage, while still relatively low, is twice as high as in 2012.

Read the final report of the 2020 Worry Barometer

Credit Suisse Worry Barometer: A representative survey

What are the greatest concerns of people in Switzerland? How much confidence do they have in political, business and social leaders? For the past 44 years, Credit Suisse has conducted an annual Worry Barometer survey to examine precisely these issues. With the Worry Barometer, Credit Suisse seeks to contribute to the public debate on issues of socio-political relevance. On behalf of Credit Suisse, in July and August 2020 the research institute gfs.bern asked 1,798 voters across Switzerland about their concerns. The statistical sampling error is ±2.0 percentage points.