Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Lichtenstein

Liechtenstein is a little-known principality located between Austria and Switzerland. Despite its small size (roughly 38, 000 inhabitants) it has a growing economy, which allows for residents to have a high standard of living. Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Liechtenstein.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Liechtenstein

  1. Liechtenstein provides its workers with some of the highest wages in Europe – Because of the growing economy, citizens of Liechtenstein benefit from one of the highest wage levels across Europe. On average, citizens make about $92,000 annually. When compared to the average gross salary of Germany’s citizens, Liechtenstein’s citizens have a higher income by about $15,000.
  2. Living costs are high – While the country has high wage levels, it also has high living expenses. The average citizen spends about half their monthly income on their fixed costs, which usually include housing, utilities, transportation and health insurance. Despite the high living costs, Liechtenstein has a zero percent poverty rate with poverty being defined as those living at or below $5.50/day.
  3. The country offers universal health care – Health insurance is required and guaranteed to all people living or working in Liechtenstein. Individuals’ insurance is financed by their insurance holder and their employer as well as by state subsidies. Although there is no current data with regards to the increase in healthcare costs over time in Liechtenstein, in 2016, the government spent $188 million on social welfare programs such as healthcare.
  4. The government provides its residents with a high-quality education – Liechtenstein relies on its excellent education system to provide the economy with highly qualified workers. After completing the mandatory schooling period of 11 years (from primary school to high school), individuals are left with a range of options to pursue further education. These options include vocational training, higher education (college or university), and apprenticeships.
  5. A high percentage of Liechtenstein labor force commutes into work – The Feldkirch-Buchs railway connects Switzerland to Austria, passing through Liechtenstein on the way. This railway allows workers to commute into Liechtenstein. Since a majority of the country’s workers, (55 percent) are from neighboring countries, this system is crucial in maintaining Liechtenstein’s labor force. The reason behind the high number of commuters is because Liechtenstein’s economy has grown so quickly over the past years that its domestic labor force has not been able to keep up.
  6. Liechtenstein has a strong economy – Liechtenstein has one of the highest measures of GDP per capita in the world ($168,146.02) and a low inflation rate of 0.5 percent. Although not officially recognized by the European Union, it does receive some of the monetary and economic benefits of the organization because of its deal with Switzerland, which stipulates that they import a large percentage of their energy requirements from the Swiss and use the Swiss Franc as their national currency.
  7. Residents have religious freedom – Although an overwhelming majority of the population is Roman Catholic (the official state religion), there remain many individuals in the country who practice other religions or other forms of Christianity. The state is currently in the process of separating itself from the church, however, this is largely considered a symbolic move, as the current union does not appear to affect adherents of other religions. The government is pursuing this initiative by creating a provisional constitutional amendment to establish new regulations between the state and the religious communities. Additionally, there has been mention of providing more equitable funding for all the different religious organizations, rather than solely giving the Catholic church more funding.
  8. The country provides immigrants with good living conditions – Immigrants make up about 65 percent of the total population in Liechtenstein.  Many of these immigrants come from nearby countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Although the requirements for the naturalization process are quite lengthy, (an individual has to live in Liechtenstein for 30 years before beginning the process) immigrants receive all the same benefits that natural-born citizens receive.
  9. Liechtenstein has low unemployment – Liechtenstein has an unemployment rate of 1.9 percent. Most of its labor force is employed in the services and goods sectors, with only 0.6 percent being employed in the agriculture sector. About 40 percent of the workforce is employed in the industrial sector, which, combined with the manufacturing sector, make up about 40 percent of the country’s gross value added. Its economy is focused primarily on high-quality exports, services and goods such as machine and plant construction, as well as precision tools and dental instruments, among other items.
  10. Liechtenstein has had issues with spreadable diseases in the past – Some of the most common diseases include influenza, hepatitis B and tick-borne encephalitis. The country has since introduced several initiatives to address these issues, signing treaties with Switzerland and Austria in order to provide its citizens with better healthcare options.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Liechtenstein demonstrate the quality of life with which residents of Liechtenstein experience on a daily basis. While the country certainly has some very positive trends going for it (namely, unemployment, wages, GDP, and its education system) it also has some things to improve upon, such as reducing living costs, which make it hard for many individuals to live in the country. Nevertheless, Liechtenstein appears to be in a good state presently, as it provides many services and freedoms that make it a desirable place to live.

– Laura Rogers
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in LiechtensteinPoverty in Liechtenstein does not seem to be a serious issue. Liechtenstein is a small nation with limited resources, which reduces its ability to have geoeconomic clout on the world stage. Nevertheless, there are signs of prosperity in Liechtenstein such as its per capita income, which is the third-highest in the world. The revenue that flows into Liechtenstein stems from the companies and corporations that maintain an office in the country for tax purposes, as Liechtenstein has long-established convenient low-tax rules and regulations in order to incentivize businesses.

The increase in business and funds have benefited Liechtenstein. Unfortunately, money laundering, though somewhat of a taboo subject in Liechtenstein, is a risk: Liechtenstein is known for being an offshore financial center and tax haven.

The unemployment rates in Liechtenstein are also relatively low at 3.4 percent in recent years. The GDP per capita is around $89,400, which is fairly high. Since the population of Liechtenstein is only about 32,000, small changes have the potential to significantly affect such a small group of people.

In short, the risk of poverty in Liechtenstein seems to fairly low at the moment. This may also be a result of its magnificent educational system. Liechtenstein has several opportunities for its students to pursue both higher education in the country itself or abroad in other European nations and beyond. There is a strong tradition of providing vocational training to many students in Liechtenstein. These smart policies contribute to its stability as a nation and the low unemployment and poverty rates in general.

There are other factors as well that point to Liechtenstein’s stability and low poverty, such as its national budget. The revenues for Liechtenstein were listed $995.3 million while its expenditures were listed as $890.4 million, indicating that since the latter is less than the former, Liechtenstein essentially is without debt. More succinctly, the budget surplus of Liechtenstein is about 2.1 percent of GDP, which is also a healthy and positive sign of growth for the nation.

All in all, Liechtenstein seems to be relatively well-off: whether the status quo will be the same in the future remains to be seen.

– Mohammad Hasan Javed

Photo: Flickr


Immigrant In-Equality: Causes of Poverty in Liechtenstein

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a country located in Europe that is landlocked between Switzerland and Austria. It is a relatively wealthy country, containing one of the highest measures of GDP per capita in the world, a low inflation rate and the benefits of a monetary and economic union with Switzerland. It therefore has one of the highest standards of living across the globe, although it comes with the trade-off of an extremely high cost of living.

Much of the country’s wealth can be attributed to its status as a tax haven, though it has taken steps in recent years to regulate and rid itself of this image and to reposition itself as a legitimate financial center. Despite the country’s economic successes, there is still poverty to be found here.

The causes of poverty in Liechtenstein become evident when analyzing the immigration policies put in place by the country’s government. In 2013, many media outlets in Europe began to report that the growing immigrant population was composed of many low-income families. This is mainly due to the increased share of the population that are immigrants, with the incomes earned by these immigrants being lower than those of the native population. This has caused the overall income growth of Liechtenstein to be subjected to downward pressure in recent years.

The unemployment rate of immigrants in Liechtenstein is approximately twice as large as it is for national citizens that have lived in Liechtenstein for their entire lives. In terms of how this applies in practice, one in two unemployed persons living in Liechtenstein is an immigrant. Despite these concerns, compared to other European countries, Liechtenstein remains in a prosperous position and the unemployment rate in general is at a very low level. As of 2012, the average unemployment rate faced by the country was 2.4 percent, with the unemployment for national citizens being 1.7 percent, compared to immigrants, who had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

This is the result of a restrictive immigration policy based on bilateral agreements and clear economic considerations, combined with the insatiable job demand of Liechtenstein’s economy. One of the essential guidelines for immigrants is that there is a requirement for the person immigrating to have the ability to support one’s own cost of living when applying for residence. This means that the onset of poverty usually occurs sometime after having immigrated, with the main reasons for poverty ultimately being unemployment, illnesses, death of an employed family member and excessive indebtedness.

A relevant quote by economist John Kenneth Galbraith rings true with poverty in Liechtenstein, in which he writes, “people are poverty-stricken when their income, even if adequate for survival, falls markedly behind that of the community.” This is one of the main causes of poverty in Liechtenstein and it illustrates an area that can be improved upon, leading to a greater equality of wealth between national citizens and immigrants and less poverty overall.

Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in LiechtensteinThe principality of Liechtenstein, located between Austria and Switzerland, is known for its grand castles, alpine landscapes and beautiful views overlooking the Rhine. The Rhine makes up 27 kilometers of the country’s western border with Switzerland.

However, it is just one of the many rivers that flow through Liechtenstein. Because of this, water is incredibly important to the country, not only as a drinking and sanitation source but as a source of power for Liechtenstein’s several hydroelectric dams. Consequently, the water quality in Liechtenstein is among the best in the world.

In 2003, Liechtenstein adopted the Water Protection Act and the ordinances that went along with it. This included several regulations to maintain or improve the quality and quantity of groundwater. Among these regulations were spatial planning measures, ensuring that there are designated groundwater protection zones and clear rules as to the protection and use of said groundwater.

These ordinances also clearly detail the protocol if any water was to become polluted. This makes it easy to identify and solve any contamination issues as soon as they arise.

These regulations ensure the healthy exchange between groundwater and surface waters, which is crucial to the continued availability of drinking water and the many attractive recreational water sites that Liechtenstein boasts.

As part of the most recent Convention on Biodiversity, revisions to the initial Water Protection Act included aims to strengthen biodiversity in the area. Firstly, Liechtenstein clearly defines its “water spaces,” which allows for planning backup in the case of flooding and makes for better maintenance of ecological integrity. It also makes sure that these spaces are not used for agriculture or other building projects, which could seriously damage the water quality in Liechtenstein as a whole.

Clearly, Liechtenstein has demonstrated its commitment not only to preserving water quality but also to preserving biodiversity and the natural beauty of its many water sources. In this, Liechtenstein serves as a role model for all of Europe and, by extension, the world, by challenging us all to make water quality and conservation a priority.

Audrey Palzkill

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in LiechtensteinWhen looking at countries that are suffering from hunger, it is easy to equate the hunger with nationwide poverty. In the case of high-income countries, such as the U.S., such a generalization might lead one far astray from reality.

Liechtenstein is a small country bordering Switzerland on the west side and Austria on the east side. Its GDP is the highest in the world, with people living there making an equivalent average of about $139,100 per year.

Note that the cost of living in Liechtenstein is only 33 percent higher than in the United States, even though they make on average 2.4 times as much as American citizens do. It is unimaginable that poverty can exist in such a wealthy country. However, we must ask, does poverty– or even hunger– in Liechtenstein exist?

The answer is: essentially, no. It is not hunger in the traditional sense, where people are starving or going hungry. In the case of Liechtenstein, there are some people who are not making enough money to have “disposable” income.

In the U.S., this is taken for granted. There are an estimated 45 million Americans living under the poverty line (2013), with 58 million Americans working for minimum wage. However, Liechtenstein doesn’t seem to have any people living under the poverty line, mainly because it has strong social services that tackle the problems of poverty or hunger before they even arise.

A 2008 estimate of households living in conditions that are called “Einkommensschwach,” which literally translates to “weak income” (low-income), is at 11 percent. This is about 3,000 people out of its population of 37,000.

Note that “Einkommensschwach” does not mean “living under the poverty line,” it just means a low-income household. Thus, these numbers convey people’s income even after social services have come into effect. The limit to be considered “Einkommenschwach” is about the equivalent of $28,000 per year.

However, social services in Liechtenstein are so powerful, it basically eradicates all hunger in Liechtenstein, as well as true poverty. During a meeting, the social minister in Liechtenstein even asked the question “With such high incomes, can we really speak about poverty? Wouldn’t this even be unethical to make such a comparison with other countries?”

In other words, not only is hunger in Liechtenstein not a considerable issue, it is even questionable if one can talk about poverty in Liechtenstein at all.

Michal Burgunder

Photo: Pixabay

The Top Diseases In LiechtensteinUntil the end of World War 1, Liechtenstein was under control of the Austrian Empire and then later was controlled by Austria-Hungary. The princes in the country maintained control until the end of the war, in which economic devastation caused the country to create a monetary union with Switzerland. The country has since regained total independence and has struggled to grow its economy since. The top diseases in Liechtenstein are mostly preventable with proper healthcare.

The poor state of health care in Liechtenstein has led to there being little access to health care for many citizens. This article hopes to highlight the top diseases in the nation.

Hepatitis B
One of the top diseases in Liechtenstein is hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver that is primarily spread through bodily fluids. The citizens of this country often contract this disease unknowingly through sexual contact or medical treatment. Although medical care is a necessity in the country when a citizen is going through a medical concern, many avoid going to the hospital to avoid getting sicker by contracting this disease.

Although influenza may seem like a disease that is not dangerous to many in the developed world, influenza is one of the top diseases in Liechtenstein. The flu season usually runs from November to April and is caused by a virus spread from person to person.

The poor economic state of the country coupled with the poor infrastructure in the region has created the perfect conditions for influenza to be a major killer in Liechtenstein. The winters of the country are frigid due to its location and this combined with a lack of access to heated environments allows the flu to spread quickly in the nation.

Furthermore, many citizens avoid going to the hospital because of inadequate medical standards in the country. The prevalence of influenza on top of many people not treating it properly have continued to allow this easily treatable disease to be a major killer in the country.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis
Tick-borne encephalitis is a disease present in some areas of Liechtenstein and has become one of the country’s most dangerous diseases. The disease is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system which soon leads to death once a person contracts the illness. The condition usually gets caught when a person consumes unpasteurized milk products.

Due to the lack of food regulations in the country, tick-borne encephalitis has become rampant in regions of Liechtenstein that rely heavily on dairy products. Although vaccinations are available for citizens in Liechtenstein, they are too expensive for many people causing them to catch the illness.

The top diseases in Liechtenstein are issues that people in developed nations do not struggle to avoid. Proper health care, alongside food and sanitation standards, would allow the country to avoid having its citizens catch these illnesses

Supporting organizations such as the Red Cross and other nongovernmental organizations will allow the vaccines needed for the people of Liechtenstein to avoid catching these diseases. Support could take the form of a donation or even volunteering one’s time. The best part is the top diseases in Liechtenstein are easily preventable. All it takes is a little effort from groups of people who care to make a change.

Nick Beauchamp
Photo: Flickr

Refugees in Liechtenstein
Located in Central Europe, nestled between Switzerland and Austria, lies the Principality of Liechtenstein. With only 62 square miles of territory and fewer than 38,000 citizens, one might assume that the country would refuse refugees, but this is not the case. Liechtenstein has willingly taken part in helping those fleeing from war-torn and oppressive regions. Here is what you need to know about refugees in Liechtenstein:

  1. World Data has reported that, in 2016, refugees sent a total of 52 asylum applications to Liechtenstein. A total of 39 decisions were reached.
  2. In 2016, 28% of all decisions reached were positive.
  3. As of 2015, the principality already accepted six refugee families from Syria, a sum of 23 persons.
  4. In 2014, Liechtenstein spent roughly $25 million on International Refugee and Migration Assistance and Development Cooperation, as well as Emergency and Reconstruction Assistance. In 2015, such expenditures were expected to increase significantly.
  5. Lichtenstein declared a willingness to participate in the EU relocation programs, not out of obligation, but out of its humanitarian tradition.
  6. The crown prince of Liechtenstein stated that, although they are willing to accept refugees, the principality must also “protect its culture.”
  7. Ambassador Fritsche of Liechtenstein stated that its small municipality is probably not a target for refugees because the country is not well-known. He theorized that this might be because Liechtenstein is not a full EU member.
  8. In 2015, it was made clear that if the principality did not allow refugees in Liechtenstein, the state would be booted out of the Dublin agreement, a cornerstone of asylum laws in the EU.
  9. Liechtenstein acceded to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the Protocol of 1967, the world’s more recognized laws on refugees.
  10. Liechtenstein’s government protects against the expulsion of refugees in cases where their “lives or freedom” might be threatened.

Although Liechtenstein is a relatively small principality, their willingness to host refugees sets a clear example for nations around the world. Today, refugees in Liechtenstein are adjusting to a new way of life in a foreign land. In the future, perhaps they will come to call the country home.

Shannon Golden
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein, despite its small size, is a hub of economic activity, with one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world, growing at an annual rate of 1.2 percent. As Dr. Kristian Niemietz of the Institute of Economic Affairs reports, median gross wages in 2009 averaged £3,500 per month or $4,374. Today, that average is about $6,436.

Such high-income hints decreased poverty rates, but, unfortunately, statistics on poverty in Liechtenstein are practically nonexistent. Its strong standard of living, however, provides some significant insight.

The country’s unemployment rate is approximately 2.6 percent, with a Liechtensteinian at the 25th income percentile in 2009 earning a monthly wage of £2,700 or approximately $40,494 annually in U.S. dollars. In comparison, a U.S. worker at the 20th income percentile in 2009 was earning about $20,000 annually, demonstrating a vast difference between the two countries in what constitutes poor.

In addition, Liechtenstein boasts a strong education system that contributes to its wealth. Students benefit from small classes, typically at an average of 15 children, as well as highly motivated teachers that provide them with the skills needed for successful careers. Standardized testing is also regular, which helps to identify struggling students, who are provided with extra assistance through resources such as learning workshops and psychological support.

Such efforts are paying off. In a 2012 OECD education exam for 15 year-olds known as PISA, which stands for the Programme for International Student Assessment, Liechtenstein came in eighth place for mathematics, 12th for reading, and 11th for science.

Furthermore, Liechtenstein has a strong healthcare system. There is private healthcare available, but universal public healthcare is guaranteed. The Ministry of Public Health monitors health services, ensuring that medical standards are met and procedures run accordingly. A combination of skilled medical professionals as well as a small population means citizens enjoy high-quality healthcare.

Despite all this, Liechtenstein still struggles with equality, especially in regard to income. For example, the 2010 gender pay gap in Liechtenstein was about 17.8 percent. One possible solution to this comes in calling for more female representation in the working world.

Regardless, Liechtenstein is a country of immense wealth and prosperity for citizens of both genders. The average poor person in Liechtenstein is considered wealthy by worldly standards, making poverty in Liechtenstein, at least for the time being, a non-issue.

Genevieve T. DeLorenzo

Photo: Flickr