Divorce rates in Switzerland drop by 10 percent in a decade

Divorce rates in Switzerland drop by 10 percent in a decade

A new study by the Federal Statistical Office has revealed that the rate of divorce in Switzerland has declined significantly in the last decade. The alpine nation now places in the middle of the pack when compared to other European countries.

40 percent of Swiss marriages end in divorce

According to the data, reported in Blick, 40 percent of marriages in Switzerland ended in divorce between 1970 and 2021. While the divorce rate is dramatically higher today than it was in 1960s, the findings reflect a significant decline when compared to 10 years ago - between 1970 and 2011, around half of Swiss marriages ended in divorce.

In all, there were 749.478 divorces in the alpine nation between 1970 and 2021, compared to 2.089.821 marriages. Switzerland's 40 percent divorce rate places it in the middle of the pack when compared to other countries in Western Europe, in front of Austria (35 percent) and equal to Germany, while significantly less than France (55 percent), Italy (49) and Portugal, where 70 percent of marriages end in divorce.

Recent social trends change what it means to be married

According to the University of Zurich, the new data showcases continually evolving trends around marriage and relationships. They told Blick that the higher rate of divorce when compared to the 1960s can be explained by an increased social acceptance around separation and a decline in the idea that women have to marry and rely on men financially.

The university also attributed the rise to a new highly individualistic notion of happiness and a decline in the role families play in modern social groups. It can be concluded that the recent decline in divorces, therefore, reflects the fact that fewer people choose to get married, and that those who do are more likely to stay together.

Basel and Zurich have the shortest-lived marriages

In terms of individual cantons, Basel was found to have the shortest marriages on average. Married couples who end up getting divorced in the city stay together for 13,9 years on average before the knot is broken. Zurich came second with 14,8 years.

On the flip side, Catholic cantons had the longest marriages before divorce, with Obwalden taking the top spot with 20,3 years. Uri (19,3), Appenzell Innerrhoden (19,2), Schwyz (18,3) and Nidwalden (17,9) rounded out the top five.

For more information, check out the official study.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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