Most common surnames in Switzerland revealed

Most common surnames in Switzerland revealed

A new study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has revealed the most common surnames in every council (Gemeinde) in Switzerland. While traditional Swiss-German names were the most common, the report found that, on the whole, surnames in the alpine nation are hugely diverse.

Most popular list dominated by German surnames

According to the FSO, the most common surnames in Switzerland were Müller, Meier and Schmid. In all, they found that 54.000 people were registered or born in Switzerland with Müller (meaning Miller) as their surname. However, this only accounts for 0,6 percent of the population, with the FSO noting “that the variety of surnames is enormous in Switzerland.” 

Curiously, 17 of the 20 most common surnames in French-speaking Switzerland were found to be of Portuguese origin, with da Silva taking the top spot west of the Röstigraben with 10.220 registrations - a fact blamed on the sheer number of different surnames recorded in the Romande.

Da Silva was followed by Ferreira, Pereira, dos Santos and Rodrigues. 20 minuten noted that the Romande region was also more diverse than German-speaking areas, with the top three surnames in Sion (Fournier, Favre and Pitteloud) bearing no resemblance to the top three in Delémont (Rais, Chételat and Montavon).

Surnames more diverse in French-speaking Switzerland

When looking at specific cities, while surnames in German-speaking cities largely match the most popular ones overall, areas near LausanneGeneva and other French-speaking areas are quite diverse. In Yverdon, for example, the Portuguese surname Pinto is one of the most common, and in Vevey, the Albanian surname Krasniqi is widely used.

Want to find out which surname is king in your local area? Check out the FSO's interactive map below:

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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