The population of Switzerland's major cities has grown by five percent in the past five years, as more families are attracted to city centre living.
That's the conclusion of the Swiss statistics office in its latest City Statistics (Urban Audit) study
, published on Tuesday, which analyzed living conditions in the country's main city centres and their suburbs.
Across Switzerland's eight participating cities – Geneva, Bern, Zurich, Lausanne, Basel, Lucerne, St Gallen and Lugano – an average of nine percent of homes are overcrowded, while the number of vacant properties is extremely low, at just one percent, found the study.
Geneva has the highest number of overcrowded homes (18 percent), while Zurich has the fewest vacant properties (under 0.5 percent).
It is therefore unsurprising that Geneva also has the most dense population, with 12,434 inhabitants per square kilometre, far higher than the average across the eight cities of 4,400 per km2.
Basel, with 7,124 per km2, has the second highest population density, while at the other end of the scale St Gallen has fairly spacious living conditions, with only 1,900 residents per km2.
In terms of type of resident, the study found that single people continue to value living in cities, with 45 percent of city centre homes being single-occupant.
More notable, however, was the fact that city centres are increasingly seen as attractive places to live by families.
Across all eight cities the share of family homes in the city centre is now 19 percent, a 0.9 percent rise from 25 years ago. Zurich is particularly popular with families, having seen an increase in family-occupied homes of 3.4 percent since 1990.
That's particularly striking since the share of family households across the country as a whole has reduced by 4.5 percent – and in some rural areas up to ten percent – in the past 25 years, said the report. Proportionally, therefore, families are favouring urban living.
“The proximity to services, the larger job market and the number of cultural activities explains the attraction of city centres,” said the report authors.