Immigration spurred Swiss population growth in 2022

Immigration critics say Swiss infrastructure and housing is being stretched to its limits due to ongoing population growth. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

The resident population in the Alpine Nation increased by 0.8% to 8.8 million last year, with immigration offsetting a historically low birth-rate.

This content was published on April 4, 2023 - 11:59

Numbers published on Tuesday by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) showed the population increased by 73,900 in 2022, a similar rise to 2021. All of the country’s 26 cantons saw an increase.

+ Does Switzerland have room for 10 million?

The rise was driven by immigration: after a slowdown in new arrivals during the Covid-19 pandemic years 2020-2021, last year saw 190,500 people moving to Switzerland, a 15% increase on the previous year, the FSO said.

With emigration numbers rising only slightly, to 120,400, net migration (the difference between arrivals and departures) thus climbed by 43.5% to 70,100.

As in previous years, the most common place of origin of immigrants were the neighbouring countries of Germany, Italy, and France.

Low birth-rate

At 82,000 the number of births fell by 8.5% in 2022, while the birth rate in terms of the overall population fell to a historic low of 9.3 births per 1,000 residents.

In most cantons, there were more deaths recorded than births.

Some projections predict the resident population is set to top the 9 million mark this year, with the symbolic 10 million point to be reached by 2050. How to deal with the country’s ageing society and demographic shifts is an ongoing political battlefield, one which may also play a role in national elections in October.

Tying and untying the knot

The FSO statistics also included figures on marriages and divorces. The former grew last year by 11.7%, including some 700 same-sex couples (such unions became possible in 2022 for the first time) and 2,200 conversions of same-sex partnerships to marriages. Divorces fell by 6.3% 40,700. Current trends show around two of every five marriages ending in separation.

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