Experience of racial discrimination


Discrimination describes any action that denies a person certain rights, that treats them unfairly or intolerantly, that threatens or humiliates them or puts them in danger. Racial discrimination is when the above actions are carried out on account of the discriminated person's physical characteristics, their ethnicity, religious beliefs or because of their culture or nationality. By racism, we mean an ideology that classifies people into groups, on the basis of real or imagined differences which are deemed to be unalterable. Racists claim that people belong to a certain group by giving them pseudo-biological origins or a common culture. Racists emphasise the differences - real or imagined - to justify inequalities between groups or to defend privileges.

With regard to the integration, only cases of discrimination related to nationality, religion, ethnic origins, skin colour or other distinctive physical features were taken into account.

The number of people having experienced racial discrimination in the 5 years preceding the survey was divided by the number of persons in the population group by sex, age, nationality, place of birth, level of education, language region and degree of urbanisation. The indicator is expressed as a percentage.

Victims were able to indicate several situations in which they had experienced an act of racial discrimination. This meant that we were able to deduce how often each type of situation occurred in relation to all the situations taken together:

  • The “socio-professional or economic situations” category lists cases experienced when looking for housing, when applying for a job, at school, during higher education, at work on a day-to-day basis.
  • The “public and state institutions” category lists cases of discrimination experienced in public administration, in the health sector, during contacts with the police, army or social assistance.
  • The “social interaction” category includes cases experienced in public spaces, when entering a restaurant, a bar, or a club, during leisure activities, sport, in associations, on the internet, or on social media .
  • The “family and private sphere” category includes cases experienced in individuals’ private lives or within their family.
  • Lastly, for situations not mentioned, the act of discrimination is classified under “Other situations”.


The isolated results for the cumulated years 2010, 2012 and 2014 shown here come from the SG-FDHA pilot project “Survey on diversity and coexistence in Switzerland”.

As of 2016, the results shown here come from the Survey on diversity and coexistence in Switzerland (VeS), conducted by the FSO.

You can access the indicators in one of the following ways

All indicators

Some 68 indicators describe the current situation and changes in the integration of the population with a migration background and/or of foreign nationals in Switzerland in eleven areas of life in our society.

Key indicators

34 key indicators provide an overview of the progress made on the journey towards integration and the state of integration of the population with a migration background. If this information is lacking, the population is shown by nationality, and where this variable is available, the country of birth.


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).