A third of migrants leave Switzerland within a year

Some 38% of adults in Switzerland have a migration background. © Keystone / Walter Bieri

A wide-ranging study on the patterns and prospects of those with migration backgrounds in Switzerland has been published by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

This content was published on August 18, 2020 - 13:01
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“A Panorama of Swiss Society 2020: Migration-Integration-Participation”, co-authored by researchers at the Universities of Neuchâtel and Fribourg, was published on Tuesday.

Studying a range of indicators like income, living conditions, employment and mobility, the authors present a selection of chapters and themes documenting the experience of migrants.

Here are some of the key top-level findings:

- Although the number of people in Switzerland with foreign citizenship is some 2.1 million (25% of the population), the number of those aged 15 and over with a migration background reaches 2.7 million, or 38% of the total

- The employment rate for migrants during their year of arrival tends to be much lower than that for Swiss citizens; this gap then decreases the longer a migrant stays, though the gap never disappears fully

- A third of migrants leave in the first year, while half stay for longer than three years.

- Households with a migration background have a lower disposable income and are less likely to own their own home; they also share their income and wealth with more people than households with no migration background.

- Overall, migrants “contribute more than they receive” from the Swiss social security system, and “the taxes they pay have a positive influence on gross domestic product.

- Internal migration within Switzerland is also an important trend: every year about 9% of the population moves home, and an average person will do so 7.5 times in their life; however, moves of more than 100 kilometres account for only 2% of this migration.

The entire report, as well as each individual chapter dealing with the above themes, is available in English here.

The report is the latest in a series of “Swiss Social Reports” that have appeared five times since 2000. The next publication is planned for 2024, the FSO says.

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