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Foreign residents now make up more than a quarter of the population in Switzerland

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Switzerland's international population is growing, but more slowly than before. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
17:48 CEST+02:00
International residents now represent more than a quarter of the population in Switzerland, according to data released on Friday by the Federal Statistical Office, though the number of new immigrants arriving is falling.

By the end of 2017 there were 2.13 million foreign nationals among Switzerland's total population of 8.48 million, making up 25.1 percent of all residents.

Most foreign residents are Europeans, with Italians making up the largest group, followed by Germans and Portuguese.

More than half of foreign residents were born in Switzerland or have lived here for at least ten years. 

New arrivals, meanwhile, are in decline. Around 171,000 foreigners moved to Switzerland last year, some 20,000 fewer than in 2016. Year on year the international population increased by just 0.2 percent, compared to growth the previous year of 2.6 percent.

READ ALSO: Where in Switzerland do foreigners choose to live?

Those figures don't reflect the nearly 45,000 people who became naturalized Swiss citizens last year. The number of people acquiring citizenship, while much smaller than the number immigrating, is increasing at a faster rate: just under 5 percent from 2016 to 2017.

In this category Germans lead the pack, followed by Italians and Portuguese.

Overall, the total population of Switzerland remained practically stable in 2017: it increased by less than a percentage point – 0.8 percent – compared to the year before, which demographers put down largely to the declining immigration rate.

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Photo: arnaldo.jr/Depositphotos
 

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