Data Visualization

Changes in taxable income distribution by cantons

April 2013

Taxable incomes of tax units, 1950 to 2010

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In the above graph mean income (a measure of wealth) and the gini coefficient (a measure of inequality) are illustrated for all the Swiss cantons in 1950. By pressing the play button the evolution from 1950 to 2010 is animated. Is there a relationship between economic growth and inequality?

The graphic is interactive. One can query the data, changing the variables and mode of presentation as desired. On the upper right one can change the presentation mode, i.e. bar graphs or line diagrams, while variables can be changed in the fields just next to the x and y-axes. Are there cantons in which the richest 10% are richer? Find out for yourself by changing to a bar chart and selecting the „90th quintile“ on the y-axis.

Definition of available measures

1. Mean Income (adjusted for prices, 2010): Arithmetic mean

2. Gini Coefficient: A measure that describes inequality. A gini coefficient of 0 indicates a perfectly equal society, while a coefficient of 1 indicates a perfectly unequal society (in which one person has all the income).

3. P-Quantile: The level of income at which p percent of the population earns less. These measures describe the income distribution and indicate for a given level of income what percent of the population earns less than that income. As such the 1st percentile has a higher income.


Data includes taxable income of natural persons, excluding those persons or households that pay no taxes. The original data source is the Swiss Federal Tax Administration FTA (see, on which we based our own calculations.