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Population increases at record rate

Provisional figures from the Federal Statistics Office show that the permanent resident population last year was at its highest level since 1963.

The number stood at 7,700,200 at the end of 2008 - a rise of 106,700 inhabitants compared with 2007.

"This increase of 1.4% in the population is considerably higher than that of previous years," the Statistics Office said in a statement.

This number includes Swiss citizens, as well as all foreign citizens with the exception of those with short-stay residence permits.

The federal office said the good economic conditions during most of 2008 and the introduction of full free movement rights of people to 17 European Union and European Free Trade Association countries explained the growth.

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