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Swiss population set to hit 8 million mark

Published: 03 Aug 2012 10:34 GMT+02:00

Although the Statistics Office cannot give a precise day on which the 8-million-figure will be reached, applying the rates of growth from the beginning of the year, it is estimated that the threshold will be crossed sometime during the summer.

Records show that the population of Switzerland has tripled since 1860. Nevertheless, the growth has not been constant, with periods of greater growth such as in the 1960s, interspersed with periods of either slower growth or decline.

The greatest growth in the population was seen between 1950 and 1970, but as a consequence of this, regulations limiting the numbers of foreign workers were introduced, such that Switzerland saw its slowest period of growth from 1970 to1980. The numbers even went into decline at points in the 1970s, further affected by the economic crises of 1975-6.

Overall, Switzerland has recorded a positive increase in natural growth since the middle of the nineteenth century, with more births being recorded than deaths, save in 1918 when Spanish Flu claimed many lives.

Migration only became a significant factor affecting population numbers in the 1950s. Since then, the population has been affected both positively and negatively in different waves, sometimes tending towards emigration, while at others tending towards immigration.

Migration to Switzerland has been the main cause of the country’s growth since the early 2000s, with the result that now some 80 percent of Switzerland’s population growth is due to migration.

The old-to-young ratio has also changed dramatically in recent times. The extension of people’s life expectancy due to advances in medical care, together with an overall decline in fertility mean that there are now significantly more old people than young people. This trend is set to continue.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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