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Cities are younger and have more crime

The population of the ten biggest Swiss cities is younger, harder hit by unemployment and faced with higher crime rates than in the surrounding urban zones.

In its Urban Audit, the Federal Statistics Office found that there were also differences between Swiss and other European cities.

The study said that until 1990 the population in the ten so-called core cities (within the city limits) had shown a higher median age than those in larger urban zones (surrounding built-up areas). But in 2008 this changed: six of the ten core cities now showed a lower median age.

Crime was higher in the city areas, which the statistics office put down to a higher rate of domestic burglaries. The only exception was Geneva.

Unemployment was also greater in core cities than in the urban zones, with the rate among men higher than among women. The reverse was true in urban zones, where women were more hit by joblessness.

In a European comparison, however, Swiss cities demonstrated relatively lower unemployment rates, the statistics office pointed out. Another difference was that European core cities showed stronger growth rates than larger urban zones. In Switzerland it was generally the urban zones which grew more strongly.

The Swiss cities in the study were: Zurich, Bern, Biel, Lucerne, Basel, Winterthur, St Gallen, Lugano, Lausanne and Geneva. and agencies

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