In 2020, 38% of the permanent resident population of Switzerland aged 15 or over had a migration background. While 31% belonged to the first generation, 7% were part of the second generation. These are the populations for which integration into Switzerland’s society is to be measured.

To measure integration, the reference typology of the population by migration status is adapted slightly: The population with a migration background includes all persons with foreign nationality (including third generation foreigners). This population also includes first generation naturalised Swiss citizens, second generation naturalised Swiss citizens with at least one parent born abroad and Swiss nationals from birth both of whose parents were born abroad.

Two other population typologies

The migration status of the permanent resident population cannot be deduced from all statistical sources used to measure integration as they do not all provide the necessary variables for its construction. It is thus necessary to use:

- Typology by place of birth;

- Typology by nationality.

In 2020, 30% of the permanent resident population were born abroad and 26% were foreign nationals. These two percentages are nonetheless lower than the share of persons with a migration background (38%).

Discover the system of integration indicators, which aims to provide a statistical database on the integration of the population with a migration background. Click here: link to the integration indicator.



There is no consensual definition of the concept of integration. However, three central aspects may be identified. Integration aims to:

- create equal opportunities and ensure equal treatment, giving everyone a fair chance to participate in political and societal decisions and guaranteeing everyone equal access to society’s resources;

- reduce the gap in living standards between different groups of society;

- guarantee, as a precondition for equality of opportunity and reducing the gap in living standards, that the host society is welcoming towards the migrant or foreign population.

Swiss legislation states that integration must enable foreign nationals staying in Switzerland legally and for an extended duration to participate in the country's economic, social and cultural life. Integration is a slow process requiring input and effort from both the migrants (at individual level) and the host society, aiming to create equal opportunities between Swiss and foreign nationals within Swiss society.



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



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