Transnationalism can be seen as a space in which migrants create a relationship - real or imaginary - between their country of origin and the host society. The indicators below explore the nature of this complex relationship. They provide us with information about the types of relationship between “here” (Switzerland) and “there” (the country of origin) that migrants and their descendants build over time and how they maintain them.
72% of people born abroad or born in Switzerland whose parents were born abroad have at least one close family member living abroad. Of these, 49% said their brothers and sisters lived outside of Switzerland, 37% their mother and 30% their father. Among the family members mentioned most often, grandparents come in fourth place (27%). Almost 10% have children living in other countries: 6% are adult children and 3% minors. Only 4% or 3% of people born abroad or born in Switzerland whose parents were born abroad say that they have a partner or, respectively, a grandchildren abroad. On average, two family members living outside Switzerland are mentioned.
|Brothers and sisters
The percentage of people with close family living outside of Switzerland varies significantly depending on the migration status: among 1st generation migrants the figure is 87% and among the 2nd generation 55%.
Trips to the country of origin
67% of people born abroad or born in Switzerland whose parents were born abroad visit their country of origin at least once a year. This figure varies according to whether there are family members living in the country of origin, such as a parent or brothers and sisters. 75% of people who have a close relative living outside Switzerland make the trip to their country of origin at least once a year, whereas for those without relatives abroad, the rate is 47%.
The percentage of people with close family living outside of Switzerland varies significantly depending on migration status: among first generation migrants the figure is 76% and among the second generation 62%.
This percentage also varies according to nationality: while 86% of EU28-EFTA nationals and 80% of citizens from the other European countries make the trip at least once a year, among non-Europeans this figure is only 43%. The geographical distance between Switzerland and the different countries of origin may explain the statistical differences observed according to nationality.
Types of contact
Among people with a migration background who have close family abroad, 89% are in contact by phone or internet at least once a month; 76% visit at least once a year and 18% send money at least once a year. Long-distance communications are the most common form of contact. 72% of people have both monthly contacts as well as making annual visits.
Regardless of the type of contact (long-distance contacts, visits or sending money), the first generation is more likely to keep in contact than the second generation.
Although results for visits and sending money also vary depending on nationality, this factor does not affect long-distance contacts. Citizens of countries that are not members of EU28-EFTA and those from non-European countries are twice as likely to send money to their family outside of Switzerland compared with EU28-EFTA nationals.