Expat Swiss community hits 760,000

The number of Swiss Abroad citizens grew by 1.1% to reach 760,200 at the end of last year. Most live in neighbouring countries and in the United States.

This content was published on March 28, 2019 - 14:36

The expatriate community accounts for 10.6% of the total number of Swiss nationals, according to official statisticsExternal link published on Thursday. Nearly three-quarters of the Swiss Abroad have dual nationality.

The most significant increase compared with 2017 was recorded in Europe with 1.5%, while Africa was the only continent where the Swiss Abroad community decreased (-0.5%).

Kai Reusser /

The statistics reveal that 62% of expat Swiss live in Europe, ahead of North America (24%) and Asia (7%), Oceania (4%) and Africa (3%). Neighbouring France remains the most popular destination (25.9%), followed by Germany and Italy.

 Among English-speaking countries, the United States is top with 80,400 expatriates, followed by Canada with about 40,000, Britain with 35,700 and Australia with 25,100. Despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the Swiss community in Britain recorded the biggest increase in 2018 (+2.7%).

Age and gender

One in five Swiss Abroad, that is 162,000 people, is over the age of 65. The oldest expat Swiss community lives in Hungary (55% are over 65), followed by Thailand (33%), Spain (32%), Portugal (28%) and South Africa (27%).

The US has the highest percentage of expatriate Swiss above the age of 79 (8%). Canada, Britain and Italy with 7% each are also slightly above the overall average of 6%.

The gender distribution in the age group above 65 also varies. While there are roughly as many women as men with Swiss passports in Hungary, Portugal and South Africa, Swiss men clearly outnumber Swiss women in Thailand: 26% of men against only 7% women. However, the relations are reversed in Spain with 12% Swiss men against 30% Swiss women.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.