Urban population growth in Switzerland has outstripped that of rural areas for first time in 19 years, according to the latest figures from the Federal Office for Statistics. The Office also reported a small overall rise in Switzerland's population.This content was published on August 29, 2000 - 14:04
For the first time since 1981, population growth was stronger in Swiss towns than in the countryside.
The latest demographic figures, released on Tuesday, showed that overall the urban population increased by 0.6 per cent in 1999, while rural areas recorded a smaller 0.5 per cent rise.
The new data bucked the trend observed between 1981 and 1998, when population growth in rural areas outstripped that of the urban centres.
In 1999 one third of Swiss residents lived in the five biggest cities - Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Berne and Lausanne. But all five cities recorded an overall shift from their centres to the suburbs.
The figures showed that the overall population of Switzerland grew slightly in 1999 - at the end of last year the number of people considered permanent residents stood at 7,164,400, up by 40,900 over 1998.
The Federal Office for Statistics said population growth in 1999 was due in part to a slight increase in immigration. This was a particularly important factor in canton Ticino, where it accounted for 81 per cent of the population growth.
Overall, births outstripped deaths, but not among the native Swiss population. For the second year running more Swiss died than were born.
swissinfo with agencies
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