Attitudes towards foreigners

The figures below give an indication of how foreign nationals living in Switzerland are perceived by the population. They gauge attitudes  towards statements that are deliberately provocative. In so doing, they indicate the level of openness of the population, by focusing on the attitudes toward foreigners' rights and on their behaviours - both real and imaginary.

In general, the population shows openness. 72% are against sending back foreign nationals to their country of origin when jobs become scarce, 69% are for family reunification and 59% are for the automatic naturalisation of the 2nd generation. 52% think that foreigners should have the right to take part in politics and 47% oppose this idea.

Evolutions 2018-2020:

  • more agreement with family reunification +8 percentage points
  • majority in favour of political rights
  • trend revesal regarding political rights

77% of the population said they disagreed with the idea that foreigners make the streets seem unsafe. 76% stated that the presence of foreigners in the classroom does not have a negative effect on the education of Swiss children. 75% rejected the claim that foreigners are responsible for any increase in the unemployment rate. 70% thought that foreign nationals do the work that Swiss natives do not want to do and 68% that they are necessary for the economy. The results are less polarised with regard to the statement that they take advantage of social benefits: 57% reject it and 41% agree with it.

Evolutions 2018-2020:

  • don't make streets unsafe +6 percentage points 
  • no negative effect on education +6 percentage points
  • don't take advantage of social benefits +6 percentage points
  • take advantage of social benefits -6 percentage points

Further information




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



Our English pages offer only a limited range of information on our statistical production. For our full range please consult our pages in French and German (top right hand screen).