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The Covid-19 pandemic “accentuated financial inequalities” in Switzerland

The National Platform against Poverty presented the first assessment of its monitoring studies on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on poverty and socio-economic inequalities in Switzerland.

covid-19 financial inequalities

“To what extent has the Covid-19 pandemic accentuated or otherwise influenced poverty and socioeconomic inequality in Switzerland?” This is the question that the National Platform against Poverty asked itself. It has therefore carried out a monitoring of the research activities in this field and published a report on Thursday, presenting a first assessment as of the end of July 2021.

Studies show “that the pandemic and associated control measures led to an immediate widening of socio-economic inequalities. On average, the lower a person’s income or wealth before the pandemic, the greater their financial losses,” the Platform report says.

Because they use health services less frequently, people of low socio-economic status are more likely to contract the coronavirus and to have a greater psychological burden due to the stress and anxiety exacerbated by the pandemic.

Social and family relations

During the pandemic, it was noted that low-income seniors “experienced a greater sense of loneliness than wealthier people of the same age. This was compounded by a sense of being treated unfairly and discriminated against. For other individuals, the feeling of having been a burden to their family was felt.

One consequence of confinement was home schooling. Parents “sometimes had to reduce their work capacity. Women were more affected than men, regardless of their level of education. Low-income earners were more affected by a feeling of overload due to the supervision of children than were wealthy people.

No “educational gap”

Contrary to expectations, current studies do not show that distance learning has led to an increase in inequality of opportunity or “widened the existing educational gap”. The analyses do, however, show that homework conditions were worse in disadvantaged environments (lack of work space, little access to digital tools and little parental support).

Although studies are still in progress, this monitoring already shows “that the crisis has accentuated financial inequalities, at least temporarily”. Eventually, the National Platform against Poverty wants to “provide political authorities with scientific data on which to base their decisions”.

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