The annual worry barometer from moneyland.ch clearly shows that Switzerland largely considers the pandemic to be over. The coronavirus is no longer even among the 20 biggest concerns of the Swiss. In the representative online survey conducted by moneyland.ch in April of this year, only 23 percent of the 1,500 participants said they were very or extremely worried about the virus.
In the previous year, the figure was over 50 percent. The coronavirus thus ranked sixth among the greatest worries in Switzerland. Fear of unemployment has also decreased significantly compared to the previous year. In urban areas, however, the fear of the coronavirus and new viruses is generally still somewhat greater than in rural areas.
Biggest concern: Ukraine war
The new biggest concern of the Swiss is the war in Ukraine. The military conflict in Europe, which was not yet asked about in last year's worry barometer from moneyland.ch, shot straight to first place. 62 percent of the Swiss say they are very or extremely worried about this. This is followed by concerns about climate change and Russia.
"The general fear of possible wars is now also one of the biggest concerns of the Swiss population," says Benjamin Manz, CEO of moneyland.ch. Possible wars are now a major to very major concern for half of the people surveyed - a year ago, it was only 37 percent.
Concerns about health insurance premiums have also declined noticeably: In recent years, this topic was always the biggest cause for concern in Switzerland - even bigger than pension and environmental issues and the coronavirus. Manz suspects that the size of these worries is strongly related to how premiums develop. "Unlike this year, premiums are expected to increase significantly again for 2023, which could make this concern more important again in the future."
"Many financial aspects, such as retirement provision, will move somewhat into the background in 2022," observes Manz. 40 percent of the Swiss population are generally very or extremely worried about their own finances. This means that this topic is not among the biggest concerns in Switzerland. The exception: their own finances are the fourth biggest concern of respondents with assets of less than 20,000 Swiss francs.
Women worry more
In many areas, women are more worried than men. For example, 51 percent of the women surveyed said they were very or extremely worried about a nuclear war and 51 percent about a third world war. Among men, the figure is only 39 percent in both cases. A strikingly large number of women are also concerned about their finances and retirement provision.
Men, on the other hand, worry more often than women about certain international issues. For example, 30 percent of men say they are very or extremely worried about global sovereign debt. This is a major concern for only 21 percent of the female participants in the study. Men are also more concerned about specific countries such as China and the USA. However, respondents of both sexes are similarly concerned about Russia.
Over 50s fear Russia
A comparison by age shows that for most topics, older people between 50 and 74 are more likely to say that they are very or very worried. Around 72 percent of respondents in this age group say they are worried about Russia. Regardless of age group, however, the Swiss-wide average is only 56 percent. "Current events in Europe are likely to bring back memories of Cold War fears, especially among older people, when Russia was seen as the biggest threat to the West," Manz says.
People between the ages of 50 and 74 are also particularly worried about foreigners in Switzerland and further immigration. In particular, respondents between the ages of 18 and 25 are hardly worried at all in this context.
By contrast, a comparatively large number of young people are afraid of unemployment. 37 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 25 say they are very or extremely worried about this. Regardless of age, this is the case for only 28 percent of Swiss people. Young people and people in the middle age group are also noticeably more worried about their relationship or marriage than people aged 50 or over.
Western Switzerland worries about health
There are sometimes enormous differences between German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland. In general, residents of French-speaking Switzerland are more pessimistic and state much more often that they are very or extremely worried about most issues.
"This is where cultural differences between Switzerland's two largest language regions come to the fore," Manz notes.
But the list of the greatest concerns also looks somewhat different in French-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking Switzerland (Table 3). For example, the French-speaking Swiss worry about nothing more than their own health (64 percent). Just about half as many German-speaking Swiss (33 percent) say they are very or very worried about this.
Health insurance premiums also remain one of the biggest concerns across the Röstigraben. "This is probably related to the higher premiums in French-speaking Switzerland compared to German-speaking Switzerland," Manz suspects. Although German-speaking Swiss are also concerned about premiums, other aspects outweigh them in this year's worry barometer.