Over 800,000 Swiss citizens live abroad

Europe is still the preferred destination of Swiss citizens moving abroad. The largest Swiss community lives in France (206,400). Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

The number of Swiss citizens living abroad has grown by one-third over the past ten years to surpass the 800,000-mark, new statistics for 2022 reveal.

This content was published on April 6, 2023 - 11:09

The Federal Statistical Office (FSO) reportedExternal link on Thursday that the number of Swiss nationals living abroad grew by 1.5% between 2021 and 2022 to pass 800,000. The steady upward trend over the past ten years continues: between 2002 and 2022, the total number rose by 34%.

Europe is still their preferred destination (510,900). The largest Swiss community lives in France (206,400), followed by Germany (98,100), Italy (51,200), the UK (39,500) and Spain (25,800).

+ Everything you need to know about the Swiss abroadExternal link

Elsewhere, FSO found that 23% of the Swiss abroad live in North America, 7% in Asia, 4% in Oceania and 2% in Africa. The largest communities outside Europe are in the United States (82,700 people), Canada (41,200), Australia (26,100) and Israel (22,800). These countries all saw increases compared to 2021, but the biggest rise was in Israel (3.5%).

Kai Reusser /

Looking at the age of Swiss expats, the FSO found that one in five (21%) is under 18, 56% are aged 18-64, and 23% are 65 or older.

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Between 2002 and 2022, the total number of Swiss abroad rose from 598,900 to 800,000. The increase by continent has been even, but Asia saw the highest growth (+115%). The number of Swiss citizens in Asia has more than doubled over this period, rising from 25,400 to 54,600.

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In Europe, Swiss communities grew strongly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Turkey over the past decade.  Meanwhile, central and southern Africa saw decreases (-24% and -10%, respectively). Similar drops were observed in countries in the Caribbean and South Asia.

+ Immigration spurred Swiss population growth in 2022External link

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

Numbers published by FSO showed the population increased by 73,900 in 2022, a similar rise to 2021. All the country’s 26 cantons saw an increase.

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

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