Expats and other social groups feel socially excluded in Switzerland

Expats and other social groups feel socially excluded in Switzerland

Several groups in Switzerland are affected by feelings of social exclusion from the wider population, according to a study by the University of Zurich. Of the groups affected, expats in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and Ticino feel the greatest disconnect.

Expats in Switzerland feel socially isolated in life and at work

The study found that one in five people in Switzerland felt somewhat socially isolated while living and working in Switzerland. 3 percent of respondents felt that they were not integrated into Swiss society at all, despite some holding a residence permit for years.

The people who felt most excluded in Swiss life were expats, people with a lower level of education, youth, people receiving a pension and Romansh speakers. The areas around Ticino and parts of French-speaking cantons in the mountains were the most isolating for respondents.

Experts call for study into social isolation in Swiss expats

Of the people surveyed, the report found that people aged 30 to 61 felt best integrated into society, especially if they are Swiss citizens. There was also a lot of regional variation, with people in cities in German-speaking Switzerland like Zurich, Zug and St. Gallen feeling less excluded.

What was surprising for the studies’ organisers was that poverty and unemployment did not appear to be major contributor to social isolation. The University of Zurich said that expats, the youth and retired did not feel like they belonged in Switzerland, and called for more studies to be done to explain why this might be.

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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