For the first time more than 700,000 Swiss nationals registered abroad

Bern, Press release, 17.02.2012

703,640 Swiss nationals are now living abroad. This is 10% of the total population. The vast majority of these Swiss abroad (61.85%) are living in Europe. These facts emerge from the 2011 statistics for the Swiss abroad. Of the 435,203 Swiss nationals living in Europe, 96.67% – 420,653 persons – are living in member states of the European Union. Three out of four Swiss nationals also possess dual nationality.

France heads the list of countries with the largest Swiss communities: 183,754 Swiss nationals are registered with the representations in Lyon, Paris, Marseilles and Strasbourg. They account for about a quarter of all the Swiss abroad (26.11%). Second is Germany with 79,050 Swiss nationals (11.23%), followed by the USA with 75,637 (10,75%). The three smallest Swiss colonies are in São Tomé and Principe, Micronesia and Kiribati, each of which has one Swiss national.  

Last year the Swiss nationals registered abroad increased by 8,517 (1.23%). The rate of increase of Swiss nationals registered in each continent was highest in Asia 4.49% (+ 1,861 persons), followed by Europe with 1.33% (+ 5,705), Oceania with 1.11% (+ 334), Africa with 0.77% (+ 155) and America with 0.27% (+ 462). 

Of the 545,844 Swiss nationals abroad who are entitled to vote and to be elected, 26.25% or 143,288 persons (+ 5.45%) exercise their civil rights as registered voters in a Swiss commune.  

This year for the first time the statistics on the Swiss abroad were centrally collated in Bern using a new computer programme of the Consular Directorate of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). In the past, the embassies and general consulates gathered the statistics for Swiss nationals registered with them and transmitted the information to the FDFA, which then calculated the total. The new procedure has increased the efficiency and precision of the statistics. 

The statistics cover all Swiss nationals registered with Swiss representations abroad. The figures for Swiss nationals in the Principality of Liechtenstein come from the Liechtenstein Statistics Office, as Switzerland does not have an embassy in Vaduz.

Further information:

Statistics of Swiss nationals living abroad 2011 (de)

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs