Population of Switzerland grows at fastest rate seen since the 1960s

Population of Switzerland grows at fastest rate seen since the 1960s

The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has revealed that the population of Switzerland grew at rates unseen since the 1960s in 2023. By the end of the year, over 140.000 more people called the alpine nation home, mainly thanks to migration.

Swiss population grew by 1,6 percent in 2023

According to the data, the permanent population of Switzerland - citizens and holders of residence permits - totalled 8.960.800 people at the end of 2023. This represents an increase of 145.340 people or 1,6 percent compared to the end of 2022 - the fastest population growth recorded since the beginning of the 1960s. 

Much of the growth was attributed to migration. Last year, 263.800 people moved to Switzerland, including 22.100 Swiss citizens and 241.700 expats and internationals, an increase of 38,2 percent compared to 2022. 45 percent of newly migrated residents came from EU and EFTA nations, with German citizens being the most common arrivals.

The government also attributed the fast population growth to the fact that around 50.000 Ukrainian refugees on emergency residence permits are now counted among the permanent population. Emigration from the alpine nation remained stable at 121.600 people.

At the same time, the number of births in Switzerland fell by 2.500 to 79.800. The average number of children per woman in the alpine nation fell to 1,33, its lowest level ever recorded and well below the 2,1 required to maintain a population curve without immigration. By contrast, 71.700 people died in Switzerland last year, 88 percent of whom were 65 years old or older.

Which Swiss cantons saw the fastest population growth?

Last year, Canton Valais saw its population rise fastest at 2,4 percent. “This is primarily due to the booming industry in the canton with companies like Lonza in Upper Valais, but also tech companies in Lower Valais,” noted SRF correspondent Ruth Seeholzer.

Valais was followed by Canton Schaffhausen and Aargau with +2,2 percent. SRF noted that both cantons have benefited from high levels of internal migration from Canton Zurich, as they offer more affordable apartments to rent while still being within close proximity to the Swiss metropolis. Canton Fribourg (2,1 percent) and Geneva (2 percent) rounded out the top five.

While every Swiss canton saw its population grow last year, Jura (0,9 percent), Neuchâtel, Ticino and Appenzell Innerrhoden (1 percent) saw their populations increase the least. For more information about the study, check out the official report.

Thumb image credit: Alexander Chaikin /

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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