Which Swiss canton has the highest rate of divorce?

Which Swiss canton has the highest rate of divorce?

New data from the Federal Statistical Office and Watson has revealed which cantons and cities in Switzerland are home to the highest rates of divorce. The study found that over 15.000 couples broke the knot in 2022, with some areas of the country experiencing a far higher divorce rate than others.

Divorce rate in Switzerland continues to decline

According to the latest data, 40.938 people chose to get married in Switzerland in 2022. During the same period, 16.201 couples chose to legally divorce, leading to a divorce rate - the number of divorces divided by the number of marriages - of 39,6 percent.

This puts Switzerland around mid-table in Europe, slightly ahead of Austria (35 percent), on par with Germany, and behind Italy (49 percent) and France (55 percent). For those interested, Watson estimated that Portugal has the highest divorce rate in Europe at 70 percent.

The data for 2022 continues a trend of a decline in the number of divorces when compared to marriages - 10 years ago, half of Swiss partnerships ended in separation. Nevertheless, there are still large differences between different regions.

La Chaux-de-Fonds has the highest divorce rate in Switzerland

Starting with the cities, Watson found that La Chaux-de-Fonds in Canton Neuchâtel had the highest divorce rate in Switzerland in 2022. While 122 couples chose to tie the knot in the city, 74 pairs separated, leading to a divorce rate of 61 percent. 

Vernier in Geneva took second place with a divorce rate of 57 percent, followed by Neuchâtel itself (54 percent), Lugano (50), Biel / Bienne (46) and Lausanne (43). Out of all the cities analysed, Zurich actually had the lowest divorce rate at 26 percent, followed by Lucerne in second (28) and Bern, Uster and Thun in joint third (30).

Swiss cantons with the highest divorce rates revealed

For cantons, it was the ex-principality that had the highest divorce rate overall in 2022 at 66 percent - while 609 couples in Neuchâtel chose to get married, 400 couples broke up. On the flip side, Canton Uri has the lowest rate of divorce in Switzerland at just 27 percent.

In all, here are the Swiss cantons with the highest divorce rates (in percent):

  • 1. Neuchâtel (66)
  • 2. Jura (56)
  • 3. Ticino (51)
  • =4. Vaud (48)
  • =4. Geneva (48)
  • 6. Obwalden (47)
  • 7. Fribourg (46)
  • 8. Nidwalden (45)
  • =9. Glarus (41)
  • =9. Valais (41)
  • =9. Basel-Land (41)

Conversely, here are the cantons in Switzerland with the lowest divorce rates:

  • 1. Uri (27)
  • 2. Appenzell Innerrhoden (31)
  • 3. Zug (33)
  • 4. Zurich (34) 
  • =5. Lucerne (35)
  • =5. Aargau (35)
  • 7. St. Gallen (36)
  • =8. Schwyz (37)
  • =8. Graubünden (37)
  • =8. Basel-Stadt (37)

Interestingly, while Neuchâtel had the highest rate of divorce, it is not home to the shortest marriages. According to the FSO, that title goes to Basel, where marriages last 14 years on average. They were followed by Solothurn (14,3), Zurich (14,9) and Thurgau (15). On the flip side, the longest marriages in Switzerland can be found in Nidwalden (20,3), Appenzell Innerrhoden (18,4) and Fribourg (17,2).

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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