Swiss population projected to top 10 million by 2050

The Lake Geneva region and the greater Zurich area will continue to see a concentration of population in the coming decades, according to projections by the Federal Statistical Office. Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

Those 65 and older will see their ranks swell by 70%, while the working-age population will grow at a much slower pace, the Federal Statistical Office said on Thursday. 

This content was published on May 28, 2020 - 18:07

The Statistical Office projectsExternal link an average annual increase of 0.6% in the number of permanent residents in Switzerland, which would bring the population to 9.4 million in 2030 and to 10.4 million in 2050. Three-quarters of this growth will come from immigration. 

The country counted 8.6 million inhabitants at the end of 2019.

The ageing of the population will be rapid in the coming decade, as members of the baby boom generation reach retirement age. Increased life expectancy will also account for the rise in the number of seniors, the Statistical Office said. According to its projections, there will be 2.7 million people aged 65 and over in 2050, compared with 1.6 million at the end of 2019.

By contrast, the number of people of working age (20-64 years) will increase by just 12%, to reach 5.6 million in 2050. 

These projections were made before the coronavirus pandemic, the Statistical Office pointed out, adding that deaths from Covid-19 were unlikely to have a major impact on demographic trends. The crisis could, however, have an effect on immigration, depending on how the Swiss authorities manage the economic fall-out. 

More women graduates

In the coming decades, the population will continue to concentrate around the greater Zurich area and the Lake Geneva region. The southern canton of Ticino and canton Graubünden in eastern Switzerland, however, will experience a slight decline – of nearly 5% – in population.

The Statistical Office also projects the proportion of women with a university degree or higher vocational education to equal that of men by 2030 before tipping the balance by 2040, when 57% of women will have degrees compared to 54% of men. At the end of 2019, 48% of men and 41% of women had achieved higher education.

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