Press release

Swiss abroad in 2023 More and more Swiss nationals are living abroad, especially in Europe

28.03.2024 - At the end of 2023, 813 400 Swiss nationals were living abroad. This number has increased since 2022 (+13 400 people or +1.7%). Almost two-thirds of the Swiss abroad live in Europe and more than a quarter in France, but many also live on other continents. These are some of the findings of the statistics on the Swiss abroad from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

On 31 December 2023, 813 400 Swiss citizens were registered with a competent Swiss representation abroad, which is 1.7% more than in 2022. This increase is greater than the one recorded last year (+1.5%).

Compared with 2022, their number increased on most continents: in Asia (+3.1%), in Europe (+1.9%), in Oceania (+1.2%), in North America (+1.0%) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (+0.4%). The number of Swiss living in Africa declined (-0.2%). These changes are only partly due to the migration movements of Swiss citizens. Differences between births, deaths and naturalisations also play a role. Three quarters of Swiss citizens living abroad have more than one nationality.

Swiss citizens mainly reside in Europe 

Of the 813 400 Swiss abroad, 520 700 lived on the European continent (64%). The largest community resided in France (209 300), representing more than a quarter of the Swiss citizens living abroad. This was followed by Germany (99 600), Italy (52 000), the United Kingdom (40 200) and Spain (26 500). In these five countries, the number of Swiss abroad rose compared with 2022. Among them, the highest growth was recorded in Spain (+2.7%) and the lowest in France and Italy (both +1.4%). Portugal had only a small number of Swiss nationals (6900), but the increase recorded in 2023 was one of the highest among the European countries (+13.9%).

Which countries are most popular on the other continents?

Some 292 700 Swiss citizens live on other continents, i.e. 16% in North America, 7% in Latin America and the Caribbean, 7% in Asia, 4% in Oceania and 2% in Africa.

The largest community of Swiss nationals outside Europe is in North America, namely in the United States, where 83 700 Swiss reside. One in 10 Swiss abroad lives in this country. A large proportion of them (58%) are of working age (18-64). Canada comes second, with 41 500 Swiss nationals living there.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Argentina is the country with the most Swiss nationals (15 100, or 2% of all Swiss nationals abroad), ahead of Brazil (13 600) and Chile (5700). Of those living in Argentina, 95% have multiple citizenships (compared with 75% of all Swiss abroad). The proportion of men is lower in Argentina than for Swiss nationals abroad as a whole (83 compared with 86 men for 100 women). The figures are higher in the other countries where the most Swiss live on other continents, but women remain in the majority everywhere.

On the Asian continent, the largest Swiss community (23 700) resides in Israel, representing 3% of the Swiss abroad. It comes before Thailand (10 400) and the Philippines (3600). The age structure in Israel shows a very high proportion of young people, with 46% of Swiss under the age of 18 (compared with 21% of all Swiss abroad). In comparison, the proportion of young Swiss people in Thailand and the Philippines amounts to just 12% and 17%. The Swiss population living in Israel also stands out due to a more even distribution of men and women (97 men for 100 women) than for the Swiss abroad as a whole.

In Oceania, the Swiss community is concentrated mainly in Australia (26 400) and New Zealand (7300). Of all Swiss nationals living abroad, 3% are in Australia. As in the United States, the proportion of people aged between 18 and 64 is slightly higher there than average (58% compared with 56%).

South Africa is where the largest number of Swiss nationals reside on the African continent (7700, or 1% of all Swiss nationals living abroad). The proportion of people aged 65 or over is considerably higher there than among the Swiss abroad as a whole (32% compared with 23%). In South Africa, the proportion of Swiss with no other nationality is higher (26%) than in the other countries with the largest Swiss communities on each continent (France: 18%, United States: 23%, Argentina: 5%, Israel: 15%, Australia: 18%).

When looking at the countries with the most Swiss residents in each continent, an increase in numbers can be observed between 2022 and 2023: in France (+2854; +1.4%), in the United States (+1005; +1.2%), in Argentina (+42; +0.3%), in Australia (+286; +1.1%) and in Israel, where growth was the highest (+833; +3.6%). Given Israel's age structure, this increase is probably due mainly to the birth of Swiss children. In South Africa, as for the whole of the African continent, numbers fell (-111; -1.4%).

Number of senior citizens continues to grow

21% of Swiss citizens abroad are aged under 18, 56% between 18 and 64 and 23% 65 or over. Numbers increased in all age groups by +1.2%, +0.9% and +3.9%, respectively, compared with 2022. As in the previous year, the greatest change was therefore recorded for senior citizens. Among the countries with the biggest Swiss communities, Thailand (41%), Portugal (34%), Spain (32%) and South Africa (32%) stand out due to a large proportion of senior citizens. Between 2022 and 2023, growth in the proportion of senior citizens in Portugal and Thailand was particularly strong, with +15.6% and +8.2% respectively. 

You can find further information in the following PDF document.


 

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More and more Swiss nationals are living abroad, especially in Europe
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Swiss abroad in 2023


 

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