Diversity and coexistence in Switzerland

At a glance

The presence of many social groups and a variety of affiliations is a feature of life in Switzerland. More than ten different religious communities are counted in the census and, in addition to the four national languages, no fewer than ten other languages are widely spoken. The population of Switzerland comprises more than 190 different nationalities. Among Swiss passport holders, one person out of eight was born abroad and therefore has experienced migration firsthand.

This diversity is enriching for a society but can also create challenges in terms of our multicultural coexistence. Day-to-day contact with persons who have other customs or ways of life can raise certain issues on how to live together. Questions can arise on the acceptance, rejection and integration of certain groups of the population.

Diversity and coexistence in Switzerland: main results 2016
Racism and integration  
Proportion of the population that thinks:  
racism is an important social problem 66%
migrant integration is proceeding well 56%
Sense of discomfort  
Proportion of the population that feels uncomfortable in the presence of people perceived to be different: 36%
in the context of everyday life 20%
at work 28%
at home (neighbourhood) 19%
Sense of threat  
Proportion of the population that feels threatened:  
by foreign nationals 16%
by Swiss nationals 4%
Experience of discrimination and violence  
Proportion of the population that says they have been a victim: 27%
of discrimination 22%
of physical violence 4%
of mental violence 13%
VeS-2016, Survey on diversity and coexistence in Switzerland

Conducted for the first time by the FSO in 2016, the survey on diversity and coexistence in Switzerland (VeS) aims to present an accurate picture of the issues raised by the coexistence of different groups currently living in Switzerland.

The first findings of this survey are now available. They help to feel the pulse of multicultural coexistence in Switzerland, revealing the attitudes, opinions and perceptions of its population. Detailed figures for six key areas provide – either directly or indirectly – information on questions of diversity, coexistence and integration.

The survey

For more information on the objectives of the survey, the collected variables and the data, see the webpage survey.

Further information

Fact sheets

Press releases


Federal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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