Mapped: This is where the Swiss live abroad

France is the most popular destination of Swiss living abroad, according to new figures.

Mapped: This is where the Swiss live abroad
Lyon, the most popular city for Swiss nationals abroad. Photo: Dimitry B
In 2016 more than 200,000 Swiss lived in neighbouring France, the Swiss foreign office said on Wednesday, up 2.5 percent on the previous year and more than ever before. 
The most popular destination in France was Lyon, where 106,699 Swiss were living. That was followed by Paris (46,000), Marseille (24,000) and Strasbourg (23,500).
Swiss in France made up 26 percent of the total 774,923 Swiss living abroad in 2016. That's an increase of 2.9 percent last year, higher than the 2 percent average growth in previous years.
While 63 percent of Swiss people state German or Swiss-German as their first language against only 22 percent stating French, it is perhaps surprising that more than double the number of Swiss live in France than in Germany.
Just under 90,000 Swiss nationals were living in Germany in 2016, the most popular cities being Stuttgart (29,000), Frankfurt (23,600), Berlin (20,600) and Munich (15,800).
Some 82 percent of Swiss in France were dual citizens, against 63 percent in Germany. 
If only single Swiss citizens were included in the ranking, the difference between the top two countries, France and Germany, would be “negligible”, said the foreign office
Some 52,000 Swiss lived in Italy, 25,000 in Spain and just under 35,000 in the UK, which saw one of the biggest rises last year, up 4.6 percent.

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Outside Europe, Asia saw an above average growth in Swiss expats, up 4.3 percent, with Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore being popular destinations. 
Some 80,000 have made the US their home while 40,000 lived in Canada in 2016, including 26,000 in French-speaking Montreal.
Of those Swiss nationals abroad, nearly three-quarters had dual nationality, said the foreign office.
“The increased growth in the number of Swiss citizens living abroad indicates that more Swiss nationals moved abroad than returned to Switzerland,” it added. 
More detailed statistics on the movement of Swiss citizens will be published later this year.

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Here’s how much tax Swiss people can expect to pay in a lifetime

Swiss daily the NZZ recently crunched the numbers to work out that an average worker in Switzerland could pay a grand total of €1,144,000 in taxes over the course of a lifetime.

Here's how much tax Swiss people can expect to pay in a lifetime
Photo: Depositphotos

The paper came up with the figure by creating a fictitious taxpayer from Aarau in the canton of Aargau where taxes are not particularly high or low. This fiscal John Doe began his working life earning the median Swiss income of 5,200 francs a month, a figure which climbed to 89,000 a year by the end of his 45-year-working life.

His total lifetime tax, meanwhile included everything from money spent on cigarettes when he was young to the 39,000 in tax payed to the church.

And if the sum of €1,144,000 seems large, it is offset by annual lifetime earnings of 3.7 million francs up until retirement age.

The total tax money might not go as far as you think either. As the NZZ pointed out, the 28,000 francs its taxpayer would give over for roadbuilding in a lifetime would pay for 36 centimetres of motorway, while the 241,000 handed over to the local municipality could pay for three BMW police patrol cars.

We thought this was a good occasion to look at some other surprising Swiss stats.

24.6 percent

That is the figure for foreigners as a percentage of the total Swiss population and it compares to 10.5 percent in Germany, 6.6 percent in France and 8.6 percent in the UK. Of course, this figure has to be viewed in the context of the difficult and lengthy process of obtaining a Swiss passport.

Read also: How to apply for Swiss citizenship in 2018

Early this year, for example, Switzerland announced it would simply naturalization procedures for third-generation foreigners, that is people who were born in Switzerland and may have spent their lives here, but do not have Swiss citizenship because their parents and grandparents did not. 

File photo: Martin Abegglen


This is the number of critically endangered species in Switzerland according to the Federal Office of the Environment (FOEN). This means they are near extinction in the country. “Such species tend to have an extremely restricted or fragmented range in this country, arise in significantly reduced population sizes or are only represented by a few individuals,” the environment ministry states. The figure of 554 is 5.3 percent of all species. It is a group that includes the viperine snake and the natterjack toad. 

10.5 kilogrammes

This is how much chocolate Swiss people eat on average every year. That’s equivalent to 105 100-gram blocks of chocolate a year, or almost exactly two a week. It doesn’t seem to be doing too much damage. Life expectancy in Switzerland was at 83.4 years for both sexes in the period 2000–2015 according to the World Health Organization. That is second only to Japan.


A recent wealth report by global recent estate consultants KnightFrank found the amount of money being held in Switzerland fell by 8 percent in the three years up to June 2017, noting that changes to bank secrecy laws and negative interest rates in 2015 might be the cause. But the report also found the number of multimillionaires with net assets above $5 million was up to 52,950 in 2017, a steep rise from 47,000 of a year earlier.


This is the number of cows in the country, according to the Swiss government. They were spread across 33,000 agricultural holdings in 2016, down from 48,000 in 2000. With 8.42 million people in Switzerland, that is about one cow for every 12 inhabitants. Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of cow bells.

Photo: Depositphotos

Read also: Swiss cows leap for joy of spring


This was the average disposable income in Swiss francs of household incomes in 2015. Disposable income is calculated by deducting compulsory expenses including taxes, social insurance, health insurance and pensions from gross revenue, which includes salaries and bonuses, plus income from property, savings and investments.

In 2015 compulsory expenses rose to 2,990 francs or 30 percent of gross income, with taxes comprising the largest part of that, at 12 percent.

That same year, just 8.4 percent of Swiss people said they could not afford to go on a one-week holiday and 1.4 percent said the could not afford a full meal every second day, against 7.1 percent in Germany and 11.8 percent in Italy.

However, a report released in 2017 showed that around 500,000 Swiss people, or around seven percent of the population were living below the poverty income threshold. This means they could not pay for the “goods and services necessary for a socially integrated life” which in 2015 applied to those with a monthly income below 2,239 francs for a single person or 3,984 for two adults and two children.