Attitudes towards Black people

Unlike other minorities who do not stand out due to certain physical characteristics, Black people are subject to visibility. The figures presented below provide information on the attitudes of Switzerland’s population towards them. Indirectly, they highlight the potential obstacles that Black people may encounter in Switzerland.


Prejudices against Black people among Switzerland's population can be considered low. Positive stereotypes are more prevalent (9%) than negative ones (6%). Mirroring those results, negative characteristics tend to be rejected more (7%) than positive characteristics (5%). 4% of the population refuses to generalise about this group or to categorise them by means of stereotypes.


Despite the fact that Switzerland did not have colonies, the population's attitudes towards Switzerland's role in colonialism and slavery can be analysed.

Almost 70% of Switzerland's population reject the idea that Black people complain too often about the suffering they endured under colonialism. 51% of the population disagree with the statement that there is less racism towards Black people in Switzerland due to the fact that the country did not have colonies. A third of the population would be in favour of Black people receiving reparation for having been subjected to slavery.

On one hand, Switzerland's population tends to confirm the occurrence of discrimination towards Black people in the country and, on the other hand, to reject the idea of the existence of racism towards them.

Altogether, 76% of the population agree that Black people have more difficulty than others finding housing in this country. 72% agree that discrimination exists in the labour market and that this has negative consequences on the working environment. Despite this, 43% disagree that racism towards Black people is a secondary problem in Switzerland and 45% are against the statement that the group complains too often about being discriminated against.

Everyday life situations and racist behaviour

By means of sketches from daily life, the figures below show whether people perceive certain behaviours to be racist and measure the extent to which the definitions of racism are shared by the population.

Hover the mouse pointer over the dots in the interactive graph below to display the labels for the situations.

The everyday situations reflecting so-called "old" or "traditional" forms of racism towards Black people are identified more often by the population than so-called "new" forms. If all of the old racism situations are grouped together, 45% of the population perceive them consistently as such. Although less identified overall than the old forms of racism, the new ones are nevertheless recognised by the majority. 17% of the population perceive racist behaviour in the whole set of new situations analysed.

Further information



Blacks, Black people

Persons perceived as or considering themselves to be black, in principle mainly people of African descent. According to the UN, people of African descent can be defined as comprising African victims of the slave trade, Africans and their descendants who after the independence of their country emigrated to or left for work in Europe, Canada or the Middle East.


Racism towards Black people refers directly to a visible characteristic, namely skin colour. In this form of racism, negative attitudes or personality traits are attributed to a person based on their physical appearance. Racism towards Black people is decisively supported by the images and values that were shaped by slavery and colonialism. At the interindividual level, it is understood as a situation, act or event by which individuals who are perceived or consider themselves black feel, because of their skin colour or other phenotypic traits, denigrated, ridiculed, excluded or otherwise discriminated against.

Old forms of racism or "traditional racism"

Pseudo-scientific racism based on the biological and genetic principles of different human races.

New forms of racism

Cultural racism, without race, or neo-racism: valorisation of cultural or ethnic differences, without biological reference, tending to make these differences appear natural and inherent.

Insidious, subtle racism: more indirect forms of racism which sometimes go as far as presenting cultural differences in a (pseudo) positive form.

Everyday racism: repeated questions or gestures that can be insidiously racist but sometimes motivated by ignorance, stupidity or simple curiosity.

Institutional, contextual racism: the result - intentional or otherwise - of public policy or certain institutions, which are not able to guarantee equal opportunities and which may even favour the stigmatisation or exclusion of certain groups.


Source: Survey "Diversity": Discrimination of Black people in Switzerland

Ad-hoc module: VeS
Year: 2017

Statistical universe: Permanent resident population aged 15 to 88
Non-weighted numbers: n (total) = 2899


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



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