Switzerland's population: Which canton has seen the strongest growth?

Switzerland's population: Which canton has seen the strongest growth?

In the lead-up to October’s federal elections, a number of political parties have put Switzerland’s growing population - and in most cases how to stop it from growing - at the centre of their campaigns. Now, new data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), reported by Blick, has revealed which Swiss canton has seen its population grow the most in the last 15 years. Here’s what they found.

Canton Fribourg population rose by 27 percent since 2007

The study found that Canton Fribourg has seen the most dramatic population growth between 2007 and 2022. During that time, the bilingual canton’s population rose from 263.000 residents in 2007 to 334.000 by the end of 2022, an increase of 27 percent. This is more than 10 percent higher than the national average for the same time period.

The cantons that saw the most growth were all clustered in the northeast or around Lake Geneva, with Vaud placing second with a population increase of 23,5 percent - impressive, given that the canton now boasts over 800.000 residents. Aargau (22,3), Thurgau (21,5), Zurich (20,8) and Zug (20,1) rounded out the top six.

Conversely, Canton Neuchâtel recorded the smallest population growth since 2007 at just 4 percent. This was followed by Appenzell Ausserhoden and Appezell Innerhoden with 5,9 and 6,1 percent respectively.

Why have some Swiss cantons' populations grown so much? 

In a statement given to Blick, the FSO explained that Fribourg’s astonishing population growth can be attributed to several factors. First, the large number of available jobs has made the canton a more attractive destination for those wishing to claim residence permits, i.e. expats.

Second, Fribourg is the youngest canton in the country, with many “women of childbearing age”. This means that the region has a surplus birth rate - births compared to deaths - of 5,2 percent, near-double the national average. 

Finally, the canton has benefited from internal migration: “The south-western districts have in particular experienced strong growth, linked to the arrival of families from the canton of Vaud,” Philippe Wanner, professor at the University of Geneva, told Blick. Denise Efionayi-Mäder, from the University of Neuchâtel, added that seeking affordable places to rent is the biggest reason for locals to switch cantons.

Swiss cantons with the fastest-growing populations

In all, here are the cantons that have seen their populations grow the most between 2007 and 2022:

  • 1. Fribourg (27 percent)
  • 2. Vaud (23,5)
  • 3. Aargau (22,3)
  • 4. Thurgau (21,5)
  • 5. Zurich (20,8)
  • 6. Zug (20,1)
  • 7. Valais (19,6)
  • 8. Geneva (17,3)
  • =9. Lucerne (16,9)
  • =9. Schwyz (16,9)

For more information about how the population of Switzerland has changed over time, check out the FSO’s website.

Thumb image credit: trabantos /

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...

Read more



Leave a comment