Nearly 40 percent of people living in Switzerland have a migration background

Nearly 40 percent of people living in Switzerland have a migration background

A new report by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) in Bern has found that 39 percent of people living in Switzerland have a migration background. Over 2,2 million people living in the alpine nation were not born in Switzerland, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the population.

Over 2,2 million people are first-generation residents of Switzerland

In the new report, the government found that 39 percent of the Swiss population aged 15 or older had a “migration background” in 2021 - making up 2,89 million of Switzerland's 8,7 million people. Compared with 2020, the international population of Switzerland has grown by 1 percent.

Out of those internationals, 80 percent are considered to be “first-generation residents” of Switzerland, meaning they are likely the first in their family to have received a residence permit. This means that around 2,276 million of these people moved to the country from abroad to pursue higher education, jobs, or retirement, or to accompany spouses or parents.

The remaining 20 percent - around 615.000 people - were born in Switzerland to first or second-generation expats. However, recent reporting found that only a limited number of second-generation residents have actually become Swiss citizens - something that the government has already chosen to look into.

Majority of residents in Geneva have an international background

The Swiss canton with the highest number of internationals was found to be Geneva, with 63,3 percent of residents having a migration background. This was followed by Canton Vaud (51,9 percent) and Canton Ticino (49,9 percent).

Those with a migration background are most likely to have either Italian or German citizenship, making up 10 and 9 percent of the expatriate population, respectively. Portuguese, French and Kosovan citizens rounded out the top five.

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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