1.6 million: What you should know about Zurich’s record population

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1.6 million: What you should know about Zurich’s record population
Zurich's population has reached a historic high. Photo: Pixabay

The population of Zurich, already Switzerland’s most populous city and canton, has exceeded 1.6 million residents for the first time in history. But what do we know about them?


New statistics released on Wednesday by Zurich's cantonal authorities shed light on the city's record population.

Never before have so many people lived in the canton of Zurich: at the end of 2023, it counted 1,601,434 residents, the Directorate of Justice and Interior announced on Wednesday.

Compared to the previous year, around 24,000 more people now live in the canton’s 169 municipalities.

The biggest increase — two-thirds of the total growth — occurred in communities with more than 10,000 inhabitants.

They are namely Zurich, Winterthur, Regensdorf, Dübendorf, Wädenswil, Uster, Bülach and Adliswil.

But in terms of growth by percentage of the population rather than by absolute numbers, small communities gained the most residents. The top performers in this category are Uitikon (7.8 percent), Höri (5.9 percent) and Regensdorf (5.0 percent).

Immigration played a major role in the population boom

The influx of foreigners is the main reason for the growth spurt, the study indicates.

At the end of 2023, the number of foreign nationals living in Zurich was about 455,000 — an increase of 4.5 percent, and the highest growth rate in 13 years.

Foreigners now account for 28.4 percent of the population.


There did these people come from?

Most of them — 80 percent — came from Europe.

Almost two-thirds of the foreign population originate from an EU or EFTA state (Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein).

Among them, Germany and Italy represent by far the largest groups, with 87,500 and 60,200 people, respectively.

They are followed by people from Portugal, Spain and Kosovo.

The groups with the greatest increase in numbers in 2023 were those of Ukrainian (8,554), Spanish (1,319), Italian (1,216), German (957), and Polish (780) nationalities.


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