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Cost of Living for a Family in Switzerland

Switzerland is popularly known for its beautiful clear lakes and snowy mountains, and most visitors will tell you about the country’s punctual trains.

You may need to know more about Switzerland if you plan to move your entire family there. For instance, how much money does a family living in Switzerland need?

Switzerland is expensive, so you will need a good income. The cost of living may be lower if you reside far from the major cities. The house rental cost is the most significant factor determining the cost of living in Switzerland.

In this article, I’ll look at the average expenses of families living in Switzerland and tell you everything you need to know about the country so you relocate with ease.

What are the average living expenses for a family in Switzerland?

As mentioned above, the cost of living for families in Switzerland is very high. On average, a family of four spends $1,858 per week here without taxes.

This includes bills, food, housing, transport, and typical household costs. Keep in mind that these expenses depend on where you prefer to live and your choice of housing.

The most expensive cities in Switzerland are Geneva, Zurich, Basel, and Bern. If you want to save money, I recommend you move to a smaller town or city, especially if you are on a tight budget.

Let’s break down the costs of living in Switzerland so you can budget better.


Food in Switzerland is costly, and knowing the amount of food you will need in a day or a month goes a long way in helping you budget. So how much money do you need to set aside for food?

The cost of food depends on your preferences. For instance, if you cook for yourself, you will spend at least $1,073 monthly. You will spend at least $36 daily if you buy locally available foods.

If you plan to eat out, you might spend a small fortune, especially on the ready-to-go and premade meals sold at train stations and supermarkets.


The cost of renting a house in a new country is the first thing you should confirm before relocating your family.

Most financial advisers suggest that your house rent should be at most a third of your gross income if you want to enjoy a good work/life balance. So what’s the cost of renting a house in Switzerland?

On average, the price of rent per square meter is $ 17.49. You will pay $2,087 per month for an average-sized apartment, mostly in major towns like Geneva. Rental costs in Switzerland largely depend on your choice of apartment, location, size, and how luxurious it is.

It’s also important to note that the above rental cost doesn’t include the other bills tenants pay, including water, Internet, and TV/phone. The rental prices also keep increasing yearly by approximately 10 to 20 percent.

Most people living in Switzerland rent, so you should find many rental options in the market. The most common type of housing in Switzerland is three-bedroom apartments.

Ensure you properly research various housing options before settling your family. A real estate agent may greatly help if your time is limited. However, you will have to pay for their services.


As much as the cost of living in Switzerland is high, you will be surprised to know that education is not costly.

The country is famous for its high standard of education, explaining why it’s a dream destination for most young adults who want to pursue their education.

One outstanding benefit of moving with your family to Switzerland is that the tuition fees are standard for local and international students. But how much might you pay for your kid’s education?

The cost of education varies throughout Switzerland. For instance, parents in major cities pay more than those in the countryside towns. The type of school you also choose matters. If you enroll your kids in public school, you will not pay much since these schools receive funding from the government.

One important thing to note is that homeschooling is not allowed in various towns in the country. If a parent must homeschool, they must notify the local government and pay an administrative fee.


Switzerland’s health costs are very high compared to other European countries. This is because the country operates a universal healthcare system that is paid for by individual citizens instead of employers or by government taxes.

This means that anyone who has lived in Switzerland for over three months must have basic health insurance from a recognized health insurance provider. Since the country has no free public healthcare, you must pay for your health insurance.

The cost of health insurance in Switzerland varies from town to town but on average, an adult’s insurance costs are between $4,517 and $7,550 per year, thus making your monthly deduction approximately $376 to $629.

What are the pros and cons of living in Switzerland?

Switzerland is a lovely country to move to with the family. Like any other country, it has its good and bad.

Here is an overview of the country’s pros and cons that should help you make an informed decision before relocating.

Pros of living in Switzerland

  • Proximity to attractions

If you’ve been dreaming about seeing the London Eye, the Louvre, or the Eiffel Tower, you will be a short flight away from them if you relocate to Switzerland.

The country is a perfect place to settle, especially for traveling families, because it’s close to most European vacation destinations. You can also explore many other nearby countries at a cheaper cost, so get all your passports ready.

  • Abundant and broad healthcare

Although healthcare in Switzerland is expensive, it is broad and accessible to everyone in the country. It covers many services, including outpatient, emergency treatment, maternity, vaccinations, alternative therapies, etc. Many healthcare plans also offer the benefits of copays and deductibles.

  • Welcoming community

One of the challenges of relocating to a new place is adjusting to the new culture.

That will be easy for you in Switzerland because the Swiss are very welcoming and ready to help visitors.

Besides, many people live here from different parts of the world, so you will likely find someone from your home country and connect easily. Additionally, you will have great company in case homesickness strikes.

  • Great food

There is plenty of food in Switzerland regardless of the season. The Swiss are also adapted to eating what is locally available; their food is fresh, delicious, and healthy. You will love the quality and taste of any meal you make in this country.

  • High housing standards

One thing that Switzerland is known for is its high architectural standards. Most houses in rural and urban places are modern, and you will love how the kitchens and bathrooms are made. Additionally, most houses are close to public transport and feature ample parking space.

  • Excellent outdoor culture

You will never have a dull moment in Switzerland if you are an outdoor family. The country boasts many outdoor family-friendly places, including serene parks, beautiful lakes, and all-level hiking trails. Don’t worry about outdoor winter entertainment since skiing areas abound in the country.

  • Plenty of employment opportunities

Finding a job in Switzerland is always easy since many employment opportunities exist. The competition for these opportunities may be stiff for those coming from other countries, but if you are skilled, you will find a job quickly.

  • Excellent education

I mentioned that Swiss education is the best in the world, so your kids will have a better chance to excel academically and pursue their careers. Also, enrolling your kid in school is free, with numerous options for public and private schools.

  • Foreigners can start businesses quickly

The process of registering a business in Switzerland is simple. This makes it easy for anyone to become an entrepreneur.

Unlike many European countries, you don’t need to be a Swiss citizen to register a business in this country, provided you live there for at least three months. After that, you can have your business venture up and running quickly.

Cons of living in Switzerland

  • High cost of living

The cost of living in Switzerland is very high, more so than compared to places like New York City and London. Food is also costly whether you eat out or cook by yourself.

You will need a high income and proper budgeting to have a good life here, especially if you plan to settle in a major city.

  • Everything is closed on Sundays

For the Swiss, Sunday is a resting day, which might inconvenience you if you run errands on the same day. Everything is closed on Sunday except restaurants and museums. This is usually a culture shock for many foreigners moving to Switzerland.

  • Limited space

The efforts by the Swiss government to make the country an eco-friendly place for everyone have led to less land being available.

Additionally, the country has many alps that take up much space, leading to congestion and competitive housing. So don’t be surprised if you don’t come across an open field or a home with a huge backyard.

  • Gender pay discrimination

After reading about the availability of well-paying jobs in Switzerland, you may search for one. Unfortunately, that might be a challenging task if you are a woman. It is reported that males earn more than their female counterparts by 20 percent.

Additionally, men hold prestigious and high-paying positions in most organizations.

Switzerland has a long way to go in bringing gender equality to workplaces.


The cost of living in Switzerland depends on where you choose to settle. Major cities are expensive, unlike small towns. The most expensive expenses in the country are house rent and healthcare.

Your family will need a good salary to live comfortably in Switzerland. I hope this information helps you plan your relocation with ease.

» MORE: Cost of Living in Switzerland vs. the US