Life expectancy at birth in Switzerland

Health in Switzerland relates to a variety of issues. Namely, water and sanitation, diet and fitness, various addictions, mental fitness, communicable diseases, hygiene and the environment.

In the 2023 OECD "Health at a Glance" report, Switzerland's health statistics indicate several advantages relative to the OECD averages. The country records a life expectancy of 83.9 years, which is 3.6 years higher than the OECD average. Its preventable mortality rate is 94 per 100,000 people, which is below the OECD average of 158 per 100,000. The treatable mortality rate in Switzerland, at 39 per 100,000, is also below the OECD average of 79 per 100,000. Additionally, 3.9% of the Swiss population reports their health as bad or very bad, less than the OECD average of 7.9%. The prevalence of diabetes in Switzerland is lower than the OECD average. Switzerland performs better than the OECD benchmarks on 95% of the health indicators analyzed.[1]

A new measure of expected human capital calculated for 195 countries from 1990 to 2016 and defined for each birth cohort as the expected years lived from age 20 to 64 years and adjusted for educational attainment, learning or education quality, and functional health status was published by The Lancet in September 2018. Switzerland had the twelfth highest level of expected human capital with 25 health, education, and learning-adjusted expected years lived between age 20 and 64 years.[2] According to a study conducted by Swiss insurance company CSS in 2023, about one third of the Swiss "feel unhealthy or ill".[3]

Risk factors

In 2023, Switzerland exhibits a smoking prevalence of 19.1%, higher than the OECD average of 16.0%. The country's alcohol consumption per capita is closely aligned with the OECD average, at 8.5 litres compared to the OECD's 8.6 litres. Obesity prevalence in Switzerland is notably lower, at 11.3%, compared to the OECD average of 18.4%. Moreover, Switzerland reports fewer deaths from air pollution, with 16 deaths per 100,000 population, versus the OECD average of 28.9. Overall, Switzerland performs better than the OECD average in 90% of the health risk factors reviewed.[1]

Health system resources

In 2023, Switzerland's health system investment notably exceeds OECD averages, with a per capita expenditure of $8049, significantly higher than the OECD's average of $4986 (USD PPP). This expenditure accounts for 11.3% of Switzerland's GDP, compared to the OECD average of 9.2%. The country also has a higher density of healthcare professionals, with 4.4 practicing doctors and 18.4 practicing nurses per 1,000 population, above the OECD averages of 3.7 and 9.2, respectively. Switzerland's hospital bed capacity stands at 4.4 per 1,000 population, on par with the OECD average of 4.3. Switzerland performs better than the OECD standard in 55% of assessed health indicators.[1]

Mental illness

See also: Immigration to Switzerland § Racism

It is estimated that one out of six persons in Switzerland suffers from mental illness.[4] Other studies estimate that between 20 and 30 per cent of the population suffers from clinical psychological disorders.[5] The annual cost for brain disorders is CHF15 billion ($13.7 billion) - more than CHF2,000 per person according to Swiss medical sources (2008).[6]

Switzerland has the highest rate of psychiatrists per population in the OECD (Iceland has half as many psychiatrists as in Switzerland and is ranked second).[7]

The percentage of SMEs that are significantly affected by failures due to mental illnesses in 2022 stands at 26%.[8]


See also: Economy of Switzerland

Studies reveal that over 27% of Swiss workers are stressed and nearly 30% of Swiss people say that they are "emotionally exhausted". Health Promotion Switzerland says that job-related stress results in a loss of productivity worth about $6.6 billion per year or 1% of Switzerland's GDP.[9]


The most common psychiatric illnesses are anxiety disorders with 710,000 cases (2008) [10]


Migraine cases as part of "neurological illnesses" stand at 630,000 cases (2008).[11]


Around 345,000 people saw a doctor about depression in 2008.[12]


As of 2022, about 80,000 people were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[13]


As of 2021, nearly 85,000 people in Switzerland were suffering from schizophrenia.[14]

Sleeping disorders

52% of the Swiss say they have problem sleeping (2022).[15]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2022)

About 150,000 people have Alzheimer in Switzerland (2022). This number is predicted to increase to 315,000 by 2050.[16]


Some 23,100 men and 19,650 women were diagnosed with cancer every year between 2013 and 2017, according to a Swiss report; with an increase of 3,350 new cases compared with the previous five-year period (because of an aging population).[17] According to studies, alcohol consumption, smoking and pollution are main factors contributing to cancer.[18]



On average in 2019, 16–25 years olds spend 4 hours on the internet every day. Between 73,000 and 290,000 people in Switzerland had "problematic" time usage of the internet.[19]


Nearly 3% of people in Switzerland gamble excessively spending 122 Swiss Francs per month on average.[20] Over 70 thousand persons were banned from Swiss casinos for excessive gambling in 2020.[21]

Illegal drugs

See also: Crime in Switzerland § Drugs

As of 2017, out of a population of 8 million, Swiss people smoke more than half a million joints per day.[22] The Swiss health office estimates there are 220,000 regular consumers of cannabis in Switzerland despite a legal ban.[23]

Drug use is 14% of men and 6.5% of women between 20 and 24 saying they had consumed cannabis in the past 30 days,[24] and 5 Swiss cities were listed among the top 10 European cities for cocaine use as measured in wastewater.[25][26] Since the early 90's, when drug use was dramatically increasing in urban areas, Switzerland has pioneered effective drug policies of harm reduction, prevention and treatment, including HAT as well as decriminalisation of recreational cannabis use. With the revision of Swiss federal narcotics regulations in 2008, the medical use of cannabis was also legalised.[27]

The number of opioid-related calls made to Tox Info Suisse, the national poisoning hotline, increased by 177% between 2000 and 2019. During the same period, sales of opioids almost doubled, from 14,300 units sold per 100,000 inhabitants to 27,400, with Fentanyl being the third most sold opioid in Switzerland.[28]

Analysis of Swiss police records suggests that participants in medical drug rehabilitation programs tend to reduce cocaine, cannabis and heroin use,[29] and the need to commit other crimes to buy their drugs, such as shoplifting, burglary or car theft.[30][31]

Legal pills

See also: Pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland

An estimated 350,000 people in Switzerland are addicted to sleeping pills.[32] As of 2022, a quater of the Swiss use painkillers. Besides, 55% of the Swiss use medication.[33]


According to official statistics, the percentage of adults drinking alcohol every day has decreased by 50% over the past 25 years, from 20% to 11%. Overall, 82% of the population regularly drinks alcoholic beverages.[34] In 2016, Swiss hospitals treated 11,500 people for alcohol poisoning; about half of the patients were diagnosed as alcoholics. Among those who seek help to quit drinking, the average age is 46; 70% are male.[35]


Between 2008 and 2018, the percentage of smokers has remained stable at around 27%.[36]

Communicable diseases

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)


See also: Prostitution in Switzerland

By the end of 2020, Switzerland had 236 registered HIV new infections (about a third fewer than in 2019, partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic). In 2018, 17,000 people were infected with HIV/AIDS according to official statistics.[37]


Switzerland had 4,000 cases of gonorrhea in 2021.[38]


In 2021, Switzerland had 12,000 cases of chlamydia which is a sexually transmissible disease. [39]


Main article: COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland

Environmental issues related to health

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)

See also: Geography of Switzerland § Environment


See also: Sandoz chemical spill


Air pollution


Soil contamination

In Switzerland, there are officially 38,000 polluted sites, 4,000 of which represent a real threat to groundwater.[43]


See also: Electromagnetic radiation and health

According to official study, 5G is not harmful to health. Critics say the study was not conducted in "realistic" conditions however.[44]

In 2023, low-level radioactive were found in a landfill in Solothurn.[45]

Water and sanitation

See also: Water quality

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)

Nutrition and obesity

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)

See also: Swiss cuisine, Agriculture in Switzerland, Obesity in Switzerland, and Food safety

As of 2017, the share of people classified as overweight (body mass index (BMI) 25 to 30) has remained stable at 42% of the population. However, over the last 25 years, the percentage of obese people (BMI>30) has more than doubled, from 5% in 1992 to 11% in 2017.[46]

Junk foods

Bio food

See also: Bio Suisse

Sugar based


Food additives

Food packaging

Sports and fitness

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)

See also: Sport in Switzerland

Since 2002 until 2018, the number of people who are physically active has increased from 62% to 76%.[47]

Major causes of death

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)

See also: Euthanasia in Switzerland

Between 2013 and 2017, around 9,400 Swiss men and 7,650 women died from cancer every year. This means that around 30% of all male deaths and 23% of all female deaths were due to cancer.[48] Over the past four decades, the number of suicides per 100,000 residents has dropped from 24.9 to 9.5 (2022).[49]

Family planning

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2020)

See also: Abortion in Switzerland

See also


  1. ^ a b c "OECD Health at a Glance 2023 Country Note - Switzerland" (PDF). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  2. ^ Lim, Stephen; et, al. "Measuring human capital: a systematic analysis of 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016". Lancet. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. ^ "After the Covid pandemic, more than one-third of Swiss report poor health". SWI 2023-09-18. Retrieved 2023-09-25.
  4. ^ "La région lémanique affiche le plus haut taux de dépression". Le Temps. 12 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Up to one in three has psychological problems".
  6. ^ "Swiss count the cost of mental illness".
  7. ^ "The urgent need to talk about mental illness".
  8. ^ "Psychological stress saps workforce of most Swiss SMEs". SWI 2023-10-09. Retrieved 2023-10-10.
  9. ^ "Over 27% of Swiss workers are stressed".
  10. ^ "Swiss count the cost of mental illness".
  11. ^ "Swiss count the cost of mental illness".
  12. ^ "More Swiss treated for depression".
  13. ^ "Podcast - Troubles bipolaires: Comment c'est de vivre avec?". 3 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Maladie psychique – la schizophrénie touche près de 85'000 personnes en Suisse".
  15. ^ "Compter les moutons – Pourquoi la moitié de la Suisse dort mal".
  16. ^ "Alzheimer cases will more than double by 2050". SWI 2021-09-21. Retrieved 2023-09-22.
  17. ^ "More Swiss are getting cancer, but fewer are dying from it".
  18. ^ "Tabac et alcool figurent en tête des causes de cancer". Le Temps. 19 August 2022.
  19. ^ "What people in Switzerland are addicted to".
  20. ^ "What people in Switzerland are addicted to".
  21. ^ "Gambling bans spike in Switzerland".
  22. ^ "What people in Switzerland are addicted to".
  23. ^ "Health office approves first Swiss project to sell cannabis for recreational use".
  24. ^ Misicka, Susan. "What people in Switzerland are addicted to". SWI
  25. ^ sm (10 March 2018). "Zurich is Europe's weekend cocaine capital". SWI
  26. ^ ilj (6 July 2018). "Youth crime: more drug use, less dealing". SWI
  27. ^ Miriam Wolf & Michael Herzig (July 2019). "Inside Switzerland’s Radical Drug Policy Innovation". Stanford SOCIAL INNOVATION Review. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Opioid abuse on the rise in Switzerland".
  29. ^ Uchtenhagen et al., 1999
  30. ^ Ribeaud, Denis (2004). "Long-term Impacts of the Swiss Heroin Prescription Trials on Crime of Treated Heroin Users". Journal of Drug Issues (Tallahassee, FL: University of Florida): 187. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  31. ^ "Switzerland". 7 July 2021.
  32. ^ "What people in Switzerland are addicted to".
  33. ^ "Quarter of Swiss use painkillers". SWI 2024-01-29. Retrieved 2024-01-29.
  34. ^ "How healthy are the Swiss?".
  35. ^ "What people in Switzerland are addicted to".
  36. ^ "How healthy are the Swiss?".
  37. ^ "HIV infections drop by a third".
  38. ^ "Chlamydia et gonorrhée – la hausse des infections sexuelles inquiète les experts".
  39. ^ "Chlamydia et gonorrhée – la hausse des infections sexuelles inquiète les experts".
  40. ^ "Research identifies 134 'forever chemicals' hotspots across Switzerland".
  41. ^ "Temps présent - Pesticides, à quand la fin du carnage ?". 16 September 2021.
  42. ^ "High levels of dioxin found in Lausanne soils".
  43. ^ "La Suisse compte encore près de 38'000 sites pollués à assainir". 2 September 2016.
  44. ^ "5G is not harmful to health, says government report".
  45. ^ "Swiss landfill site found to contain low-level radioactive material". SWI 2023-09-07. Retrieved 2023-09-07.
  46. ^ "How healthy are the Swiss?".
  47. ^ "How healthy are the Swiss?".
  48. ^ "More Swiss are getting cancer, but fewer are dying from it".
  49. ^ "Swiss suicide rate continues downward trend".