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What the latest statistics tell us about dual nationals in Switzerland

About one-fifth of permanent residents are dual nationals. This is what a new study reveals about them.

 Almost one-fifth of Switzerland’s population have dual nationality. Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash
Almost one-fifth of Switzerland’s population have dual nationality. Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

In 2020 — the most recent year for which official numbers are available —19 percent of permanent residents aged 15 or over had dual nationality, according to a study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) released on Thursday. 

When foreigners gain citizenship of their country of residence while still maintaining the nationality of their place of origin, they become known as ‘dual nationals’.

What does the study show?

People from Italy account for the largest proportion — 23 percent — of dual nationals, followed by those from France (12 percent) and Germany (8 percent).

Less than 5 percent of UK citizens also have a Swiss passport.

In terms of residence, the majority of double nationals (45 percent) live in Geneva, Vaud (31 percent), Ticino (38 percent), and Basel-City (25 percent). 

Within this population, 65 percent obtained Swiss nationality by naturalisation, while 35 percent obtained it at birth.

Unlike many other countries like the United States or Canada, being born in Switzerland doesn’t automatically mean the person is Swiss; if their parents were born abroad and still hold foreign passports, a person will not obtain Swiss citizenship by birth. 

However, this could change, as the Social Democratic party wants the government to loosen naturalisation and citizenship rules to allow “citizenship by birth”.

READ MORE: How Switzerland’s Social Democrats want to introduce ‘citizenship by birth’

This article provides more general information about dual nationals in Switzerland:

What we know about dual nationals living in Switzerland

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Alcohol consumption at lowest point for 60 years

The Swiss consumed on average 8.4 litres of pure alcohol last year – less than at any point since the early 1950s.

Alcohol consumption at lowest point for 60 years
Less wine was drunk in 2012. Photo Jon Sullivan, Wikimedia Commons

Despite that the Federal Office of Public Health reckons around 250,000 people in Switzerland are alcoholics, the 20 Minuten website reported.

Swiss Alcohol Board (SAB) statistics published on Monday showed a slight drop from 8.5 litres per head in 2011.

Consumption has fallen by around one third since the 1980s when the average person put away 11 litres of pure spirit.

Expressed in quantities the Swiss drank about one litre less wine and a half litre less beer last year.

In 2012 the average person knocked back 36 litres of wine and 56.5 litres of beer, according to the statistics.

There was a trend towards drinking less wine, the SAB said, and in 2012 imports of both red and white wine fell.

Domestic production also fell last year.

There was virtually no change in the amount of spirits drunk. Average consumption last year was 3.9 litres, or 1.6 litres of pure alcohol.

The health office says consumption among certain population groups remains problematic.

It estimates that almost 20 percent of the population binges on alcoholic drinks on a regular basis. For women this means drinking at least four alcoholic beverages in one session every month and for men at least five drinks.