A brief introduction to the population of Switzerland

A brief introduction to the population of Switzerland

It’s finally here: just 11 years after surpassing the seven billion mark, planet Earth is now home to eight billion people! As the world celebrates this population explosion, we explore how Switzerland and its population have grown and changed in recent times. 

The Swiss population at a glance

100 years ago in 1922, the Swiss population was just 3,93 million. Now there are 8,7 million people living in Switzerland. Most people in the alpine nation choose to live in Swiss cities, namely Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Lausanne.

According to the country’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the majority of Switzerland's 8,7 million residents are women - with the country being home to around 200.000 more women than men. The largest age group in the population are between 40 and 64 years old, and the average age of people in the country is 42. 

Life expectancy in Switzerland remains amongst the highest in the world, with women expected to live up to 85,7 years and men 81,6 years. In addition, while 2021 saw more than 70.000 people die in the country, 90.000 people were born in Switzerland

How is Switzerland’s population changing?

Thanks to its complicated blend of cultures - with parts of the country speaking German, others French, and some Swiss cantons using Italian, Romansh or a mixture as their official language - modern Switzerland is very diverse in terms of language. It now also houses more than 2 million expats and internationals. 

Switzerland welcomed almost 166.000 immigrants in 2021, who came to Switzerland for different purposes: to study, for work, or simply to seek safety and refuge. The country continues to provide refuge for many victims of war, political persecution and violence, with more than 60.000 Ukrainian refugees being welcomed to the alpine nation this year. 

Swiss citizens also often choose to leave the country to seek opportunities abroad. While the population overall keeps growing, last year saw more than 116.000 Swiss residents leave Switzerland to pursue lives in other countries.

The future of the Swiss population

The future of the Swiss population is yet to be determined, but models produced by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office show that it’s likely to involve many more people! The FSO predicts that by 2050, Switzerland’s population will be 10,4 million, with Canton Geneva set to see the highest population growth. 

Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, is also likely to see its population grow to over two million in the next 30 years. In contrast, Canton Ticino is predicted to shrink by 5 percent by 2050 as its population ages. The number of people aged 80 and over is expected to double, raising questions about how Switzerland’s already-stretched care system will cope with the ageing population. 

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

Read more



Leave a comment