More Swiss live abroad

A British car sporting a Swiss flag Ex-press

More and more Swiss are leaving to live abroad, with France still the most popular destination.

This content was published on February 14, 2008 - 11:21

At the end of December 2007 there were 668,017 Swiss citizens living outside Switzerland, the Federal Statistics Office reported on Thursday. This was an increase of 3.6 per cent on 2006.

Not only is the total figure rising, but also the rate at which the Swiss are leaving.

Nearly 5,000 of these emigrants went to live in France, with Germany the next favourite destination. In all, just over 60 per cent of the Swiss abroad live in countries of the European Union, with the largest colonies in Switzerland's three biggest neighbours, France, Germany and Italy.

The figures include Swiss citizens who live just across the border and but work in Switzerland.

Outside Europe, the countries attracting the most Swiss in 2007 were the US, Canada and Israel, which already have major Swiss communities.

Only 23 per cent of the Swiss living abroad are aged under 18, and among adults, women significantly outnumber men, accounting for 58 per cent.

Nearly three quarters of the Swiss living abroad have dual nationality.

"Fifth Switzerland"

Swiss citizens living abroad are known as the "Fifth Switzerland". (The other four are the four language regions.)

The Organisation for the Swiss Abroad looks after their interests, and encourages them to maintain their links with Switzerland, including taking part in elections.

Over 111,000 Swiss nationals living abroad are registered to vote in their home communes – a number equivalent to the population of the canton of Neuchâtel.

The inter-party Swiss Abroad parliamentary group has 80 representatives in parliament, who are particularly sensitive to the needs of the Swiss resident outside the country.

swissinfo with agencies

The Swiss Abroad

Nearly 670,000 Swiss citizens live outside Switzerland.

The countries with the largest Swiss communities are France, Germany, the US, Italy and Canada.

The Swiss Abroad are encouraged to keep contacts with Switzerland, in particularly via the Organisation for the Swiss Abroad (OSA).

Every year the OSA organises a conference in a different part of Switzerland, attended by about 500 Swiss residents of different countries.

Seventeen Swiss schools all over the world provide Swiss-style education to a total of about 6,700 children.

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