Swiss abroad in 2022 More than 800 000 Swiss nationals lived abroad at the end of 2022

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More and more Swiss nationals are living abroad, especially in Europe

06.04.2023 - In 2022, the population of Swiss citizens residing abroad exceeded the 800 000 mark. This number showed continued growth compared with 2021 (+1.5%), but also between 2002 and 2022 (+34%). Europe was still the preferred continent, although more and more Swiss citizens lived in parts of Asia. These are some of the results of the statistics on the Swiss abroad from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

On 31 December 2022, more than 800 000 Swiss nationals were registered with a competent Swiss representation abroad, which is 1.5% more than in 2021. This increase is equal to that recorded the previous year. Over the past 20 years, the number of Swiss citizens abroad has continued to rise, except in 2017. 

Compared with 2021, their number increased on all continents: in Asia (+2.1%), in Europe (+1.9%), in Oceania (+1.0%), in America (+0.7%) and in Africa (+0.4%). These developments are only partly due to migratory movements of Swiss nationals. The difference between births and deaths and naturalisations also contributed to this. 

Swiss citizens mainly residing in Europe

Of the 800 000 Swiss citizens abroad, 510 900 lived on the European continent (64%). The largest community resided in France (206 400). This was followed by Germany (98 100), Italy (51 200), the United Kingdom (39 500) and Spain (25 800). The number of Swiss nationals increased in all these countries. Compared with 2021, the highest growth was recorded in Spain (+2.8%) and the lowest in France (+1.2%). Portugal had only a small number of Swiss nationals (6100), but the increase recorded in 2022 was one of the highest among the European countries (+12.9%).

And on the other continents?

289 100 Swiss citizens lived on other continents, i.e., 23% in America, 7% in Asia, 4% in Oceania and 2% in Africa. The largest communities outside Europe were in the United States which registered 82 700 persons, ahead of Canada (41 200), Australia (26 100) and Israel (22 800). An increase was seen in all of these countries but the greatest was observed in Israel with 3.5% more than in 2021. 

A growing number of senior citizens

21% of Swiss citizens abroad were aged under 18, 56% were between 18 and 64 years and 23% were aged 65 or over. Their number increased in all age groups by +1.6%, +0.8% and +3.4% respectively compared with 2021. As in the previous year, the most important change was recorded for senior citizens.

What developments were seen between 2002 and 2022?

With the exception of 2017, the number of Swiss citizens abroad continued to grow. Between 2002 and 2022, their number rose from 598 900 to 800 000, i.e., an increase of 34%. The development was more or less marked depending on the continent, but all continents showed an increase in the number of Swiss nationals. Asia showed the highest growth (+115%). Indeed, the number of Swiss citizens on this continent more than doubled between 2002 and 2022, rising from 25 400 to 54 600. The least marked development was observed in Africa (+7.3%).

When looking at the different regions of the world, the population of Swiss citizens abroad increased in all countries in Europe, North America, North Africa and South-East Asia (+37%, +18%, +59% and +132%). In Europe, the greatest increases were recorded in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Turkey (Türkiye), among others. In the United States and Canada, increases of +19% and +17% were observed. In North Africa, the largest increases were seen in Algeria and Morocco, and in South East Asia in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Other regions of the world, by contrast, saw a decrease in their Swiss community between 2002 and 2022. Central and Southern Africa showed a decrease in the Swiss population (–24% and –10%). In both regions, most countries were affected. A similar trend could be observed in many Caribbean and South Asian countries, where a decrease in Swiss nationals was recorded.

More emigration and less immigration 

Since 1992, the net migration of Swiss nationals has been negative, i.e., their emigration has been greater than their immigration. According to provisional data from the population and household statistics, 31 300 people left Switzerland and 21 900 arrived in the country during 2022. Their migratory balance was thus –9300 persons compared with –6600 in 2021.

You can find further information in the following PDF document.


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More than 800 000 Swiss nationals lived abroad at the end of 2022
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