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Swiss Abroad, how are you doing?

Two people going for a run along the river Rhine.
© Keystone / Georgios Kefalas

Do you like going for a run? Or do you find running too boring and you prefer niche sports like bossaball? Whatever your preference, if you engage in physical activities at least once a week, you are like the majority of the Swiss population. This – and why it's worthwhile being a Swiss Abroad – are some of the many interesting results of a new opinion survey by the gfs.bern research institute.

The survey “How are you, Switzerland?” was conducted by gfs.bern on behalf of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) and is one of the largest opinion polls ever carried out in Switzerland. In April and May 2023, 57,778 Swiss living in Switzerland and abroad clicked through more than 300 questions on topics such as personal well-being, politics and living costs. How often do you change your bedding? Do you trust politicians in Switzerland? And have you ever been discriminated against because of your gender? These are three examples from the broad catalogue of questions.

You can find an overview of the results of the survey here: 


The Swiss Abroad are less anxious

Two-thirds of the Swiss (living in Switzerland and abroad) consider themselves Swiss. Not surprisingly, the Swiss Abroad are more likely to believe that living in Switzerland is not a prerequisite for identifying with the country. Nevertheless, half of them consider Switzerland the best country to live in. Even though a third of them do not consider Swiss citizenship to be essential, for a large proportion of the Swiss Abroad it is an important part of their identity.

The Swiss Abroad say their leisure activities and friends are significant in their daily lives. Setting aside around 4.5 hours per day, they are the frontrunners in these two areas, ahead of the retired and the divorced. Living abroad as a Swiss citizen can even have a positive effect on your health, as the survey shows. They claim to feel less anxious, more rested, calmer and less depressed.

This image of the more relaxed Swiss Abroad is reinforced by the fact that, compared to the Swiss living in Switzerland, they are less likely to say that they are preoccupied in everyday life by their job, appearance or by an urge to optimise themselves, for example.


Whether this correlates with the Swiss Abroad tending to change the bed linen every week is an open question. However, they tend to neglect the biannual window cleaning, just like their fellow citizens living in Switzerland – albeit less often. Regarding physical exercise, the Swiss Abroad are more likely to skip out on weekly sports, even though 64% do exercise at least once a week.

Taking action for the climate

Regarding the federal elections in autumn, it can be said that most Swiss Abroad are confident that they can exercise their political rights (79%). However, this figure is lower than that of the Swiss living in Switzerland (91%). Swiss citizens living abroad are less likely to doubt that Swiss politicians will be held accountable for their misconduct and have greater trust in economic  representatives. They seem, however, to be less positive about their fellow citizens: The level of trust is significantly lower than among Swiss living in Switzerland.

As for climate change, a clear majority of all respondents state that it is man-made and that there is an immediate need for action. The Swiss Abroad feel more strongly that Switzerland has a responsibility to do something about climate change, but they are also more confident that Switzerland will succeed at a political level. Differences are also evident in the willingness to take action for the climate. While the Swiss Abroad find it more difficult than the Swiss at home to do without their single-family home  (37% do not want to do without at all), the willingness abroad is greater to reduce heating, do without oil and gas heating or to partially do without cars  with combustion engines.

New platform “dialogue” 

With “dialogue” you can experience news and debate in a new way. Discuss relevant topics – no matter in which national language or in English. We do the translation work. Every week, an editorial team selects a new topic for you to debate. In addition, you will learn interesting facts from all parts of the country. A tool created on the basis of the nationwide survey “How’s it going, Switzerland?” shows you where you stand on the respective topic compared to others. 

+ Check out the dialogue platformExternal link

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR