Health For Members

In which parts of Switzerland can you expect to live the longest?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
In which parts of Switzerland can you expect to live the longest?
People in Switzerland are generally healthy and live longer that others. Photo: Pixabay

Switzerland’s population has the second-highest life expectancy in Europe, a new study has revealed. But where in the country can you expect to live the longest and why?


It's official: Switzerland has the second-best life expectancy in Europe — 83.9 years on average — according to figures released this week by Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistical arm.

As a comparison, the average lifespan in the EU is 80.1 years.

Only the residents of the tiny principality of Liechtenstein outperform Switzerland in terms of longevity: 84.4 years on average.

Is it possible that a steady diet of cheese and chocolate helps prolong the lifespan of Switzerland’s population, or are there other factors at play?

The basis for a long life is, naturally, good health, and this is where Switzerland excels.

“Switzerland benefits from a good health infrastructure, and its health system is rather efficient in international comparison,” Philippe Wanner, demographer at the University of Geneva, told Watson News platform.

However, this is not the only reason.
The demographic structure of the population also plays a role, according to Wanner.

For instance, Switzerland has a high population of well-educated people, who are generally more health conscious. “We know that, statistically, they live longer than people with secondary education or without training,” he pointed out.

Income is also one of the determining factors.

Not only the population in general, but elderly people in Switzerland as well “have  greater financial resources compared to other countries."

And there is another reason as well: immigration.

You may be wondering how immigration can play a role in longevity, but according to Wanner, it does.

“Switzerland is strongly marked by migration: people who come here are often healthy, and push expectancy figures upwards, while those in poor health tend to return home,” he said.  


Regional differences
Although it is high in international comparison, life expectancy is not the same throughout Switzerland, but it varies from one region to another:

With an average lifespan of 85.7 years, Ticino tops the ranking — not only for Switzerland, but for the whole of Europe as well.

Next is the Lake Geneva region — the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais — where life expectancy is 84.8 years on average.

On the other hand, Eastern Switzerland (Graubünden, Schaffhausen, Thurgau, St. Gallen, Glarus, and the two Appenzells) are lowest ranked (83 years — which is still quite a bit higher that the averages in most of the EU, and even more so in the Eastern European countries, where median life expectancy  does not exceed low to mid-70s).


Why are there regional differences within Switzerland?

According to Wanner, "the risk of road accidents or falls in the mountains is higher in rural or mountainous areas. These are rare events, but which strike a population that is rather young, which, in turn, lowers life expectancy.”

READ ALSO: Why have so many climbers and hikers died in the Swiss mountains this year?

Health behaviours also count.

“In rural areas, diseases linked to heavy alcohol or tobacco consumption, such as liver cirrhosis, are more common,” Wanner said.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also