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Five generations currently live together in Switzerland: the so-called maturists or traditionalists, baby boomers, X, Y and Z. We have collected ten interesting generational differences in Switzerland: How do young people tick compared to older people?

This content was published on March 18, 2019 - 11:45 am

1. Drive? No thanks!

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A fancy car is one of the dreams of all young people, isn't it? In the past, this may also have been the case in Switzerland. But today, having a car is no longer one of the most important goals in life for young Swiss people. Fewer and fewer people even get a driving licenseExternal Link.

This is probably not just due to generation differences, but has tangible causes: It has become extremely expensive and time-consuming to get a driver's license in Switzerland. At the same time, public transport with night buses on weekends was expanded, while parking spaces are becoming more and more expensive, especially in cities. Owning a car is simply not as attractive in Switzerland as it used to be - or as in other countries.

2. Young people want (or have to) share instead of owning

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Car sharing, Uber, Airbnb, communal living ... Sharing instead of owning (sharing economy, external link) seems to be hip, especially among generations Y and Z. But the Neue Zürcher Zeitung wrote in a comment on External Link that millennials did not forego consumption and status symbols for ecological and social reasons - they were simply short of money. This is probably no different with Generation Z.

Shortage of money among boys may be less of a problem in Switzerland than in other western countries. The trend is therefore also less pronounced: while in the USA, according to the 2018 Youth Barometer from Credit SuisseExterner Link, 61% of the young people surveyed (16 to 25-year-olds) use a sharing service, in Switzerland 43% do so.

3. Immigration? Gay marriages? The boys are open

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Referendums in Switzerland provide good examples of the different values ​​of the generations. Young and old are often at odds, especially when it comes to voting on the army and foreigner policy, as well as on socio-political issues.

For example, almost 60 percent of the 18 to 29 year olds rejected the mass immigration initiative, according to Vox analysis; so they did not want any restrictions on immigration. The young see the free movement of persons with the EU possibly more professional chances and possibilities, while for persons shortly before retirement this means more of a threat from the competition of European workers.

The over 60-year-olds, on the other hand, would have agreed to a proposal that wanted to abolish tax disadvantages for married couples - but at the same time defined marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. The latter in particular was out of the question for the boys. The social acceptance of homosexuality has increased in recent yearsExternal Link - especially among young, urban German-speaking SwissExternal Link.

4. Home ownership? Maybe later...

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From the 1960s, owning a home became very popular in Switzerland. It was above all the generations of Maturists and Baby BoomersExterner Link who built or bought single-family houses. From the 1980s and 1990s, condominiums also became popularExternal Link. Nevertheless, the home ownership rate in Switzerland remained low in an international comparison - the Swiss are a people of tenants.

According to the study "Swiss Real Estate Market 2017Externer Link" by Credit Suisse, however, the young today often live in single apartments for rent.

In the long term, however, young people also dream of owning their own home: In a survey of Swiss Generation Y, 70% of the study participantsExterner Link gave home ownership a high priority.

Amazingly, the very young have an even greater desire to settle down: According to the 2018 Youth Barometer from Credit SuisseExterner Link, 84% of Generation Z want their own home (for comparison: USA 90%, Brazil 94%, Singapore 92%). Whether they will be able to afford External Link with rising real estate prices and wages stagnating at the same time is another matter.

5. Young people are the bigger food wasters

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The young are the bigger food wastersExternal link. Older people know better how they can still use something.

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Food waste

The boys' food wasting is astonishing. Because generations Z and Y are actually considered ecological (see next point).

6. Young people worry about the climate and the environment

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In Switzerland, too, schoolchildren take to the streets for climate protection. Generation Z is shaking up politics across Europe with its school strikeExterner Link. One speaks of "Greta's Generation" after the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Even among Generation Y, climate change and global warming are among the greatest concerns in Western countries.

This can also be seen in votes: The young have decided to phase out nuclear power immediately and have accepted the initiative for a green economy. They were outvoted by the elders. But in defense of the older generations, it should be mentioned that a group of senior women sued the Swiss state for doing too little against global warming.

7. Young people are more willing to perform than older people

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According to a generation study in Switzerland by the University of KonstanzExterner Link, the baby boomer generation is significantly more satisfied with their work than generations X and Y. Generation Y is less loyal to the companyExterner Link than older generations and they also think more often about resigning. A good work-life balance is much more important to Generation Y than to the other two generations.

Nevertheless, according to the study, Generation Y has the greatest willingness to perform, closely followed by Generation X. The Baby Boomer Generation shows significantly less willingness to work, which, however, could be related to the approaching retirement. Other research projectsExterner Link describe the baby boomers as a very innovative generation willing to learn and actively shaping their retirement.

8. Young worry about the old-age pension

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In contrast to the elderly, the young have little confidence in the state pension scheme. Many also believe that current retirees are preferred. Every fifth generation of the YExterner Link is of the opinion that old-age provision should be privatized.

Young Swiss people are even more worried about their pensions than young people in other countriesExternal link. And rightly so. The Swiss pension system is very generous - but therefore not very sustainableExternal link.

9. The Swiss want more children than they have

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About 93 percent of the still childless women and men between the ages of 20 and 29 want children. That is more than older generations actually have children: around seven out of ten women (70%) and almost two thirds of men (64%) between the ages of 25 and 80 are parents of one or more children.

But the desire to have children has hardly changed over the generations: in the 1990s, only 6.1% of the women surveyed and 8.9% of the men did not want children between the ages of 20 and 29. When it comes to the issue of having children, there is no gap between generations, but rather desire and reality.

10. The nest generation

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Today's youngsters stay longer with their parentsExterner Link than previous generations. This not only has to do with longer training periods and financial hardship, but also, according to a survey by ComparisExterner Link, with convenience: the grown-ups appreciate the parents' laundry, cleaning and cooking service. In addition, the young generation hardly has any conflicts with their parentsExternal Link, so there is no reason to move out.

Contact the author @SibillaBondolfi on FacebookExternal Link or TwitterExternal Link.

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