There are now 2.1 million foreigners in Switzerland

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There are now 2.1 million foreigners in Switzerland
Photo: Stephan Schacher/Swiss Tourism

The number of foreigners in Switzerland increased at a faster rate than the number of Swiss in 2016, according to new figures released on Wednesday.


As of January 1st 2017 the population of Switzerland was over 8.4 million, up 1.1 percent from the previous year, the Swiss statistics office said in its annual report. 
However while the number of Swiss citizens grew by 0.6 percent in 2016, the number of foreign residents was up by 2.6 percent, it said. 
There are now more than 2.1 million foreigners living in Switzerland, up from just under 2.05 million a year earlier, comprising 24.9 percent of the total population.
The percentage of foreigners in the Swiss population has grown steadily. Source: Swiss statistics office
The growth rate for foreigners in Switzerland (2.6 percent) was slightly higher than in 2015, however it has been much higher in the recent past, reaching 4.2 percent in 2008.
More foreign babies were born in Switzerland last year than ever before (26,313) while fewer foreign residents died in 2016 than in the previous year, resulting in a ‘natural growth’ – the difference between the number of births and deaths – of 20,060.
In addition, 167,407 foreigners chose to make Switzerland home in 2016, while just over 90,000 left the country.
In comparison, the number of Swiss who left the country in 2016 was higher than the number who came back. 
What’s more, due to the wider age demographic of Swiss citizens, their ‘natural growth’ was only 2,859.
Italians remain the largest diaspora within Switzerland, followed by Germans, Portuguese and French. 
Since babies born to foreign citizens in Switzerland do not automatically get Swiss citizenship, the figures in the table below also include Swiss-born foreigners. 


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