Expats boost high rise in Swiss population

Expats boost high rise in Swiss population
Photo: Richard Allaway
Over two-thirds of Switzerland’s population growth in 2013 can be attributed to foreign immigrants, according to figures published by the Swiss federal office of statistics (BFS).

The statistics, reported across Swiss media on Friday, revealed that Switzerland experienced 1.3 percent population growth in 2013 – one of the highest rates in Europe – taking its total population to 8,139,600.

Of those 100,600 extra inhabitants in Switzerland in 2013, some 67,500 were foreigners arriving to live in the country and only 33,100 were Swiss.

The total number of expats living in Switzerland by the end of 2013 rose to 1.9 million, accounting for 23.8 percent of the total population, up from 23.3 percent in 2012.

According to the BFS, 66 percent of Switzerland’s foreign population came from EU countries, mostly Italy (15.4 percent), Germany (15.1 percent) and Portugal (13.1 percent).

2013’s population growth nears Switzerland’s highest ever rise, recorded in 2008 at 1.4 percent, and is one of the highest in Europe.  

According to EU statistical body Eurostat, only Italy surpassed Switzerland’s population growth in 2013 with an increase of 1.9 percent.

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the UK all recorded population growths under one percent, while populations fell in Spain, Portugal, Croatia and several other EU countries.

The figures come as Switzerland is reassessing its stance towards immigration.

In February a referendum calling for the introduction of quotas on the number of European immigrants to Switzerland was narrowly passed.

The situation is in stark contrast to other European countries, where immigrants are leaving in droves.

In April The Local Spain reported that the number of foreign residents living in Spain fell by nearly ten percent in 2013, contributing to a total population fall of around one percent.

Some other European countries saw a slide in expats of up to 13.3 percent.

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