Swiss population grows despite increase in deaths

The large increase in deaths was related to the Covid-19 pandemic Keystone / Martial Trezzini

A total of 8,667,100 people lived in Switzerland at the end of 2020 – an increase of 61,100 or 0.7% on the previous year.

This content was published on April 6, 2021 - 15:11

Although there were 8,200 (12.1%) more deaths than the year before and fewer births, net migration caused the population to increase, provisional figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) revealed on TuesdayExternal link.

More precisely, there was a significant decrease in people leaving Switzerland. Overall, 56,000 more people came to Switzerland than left, but compared with 2019 both immigration and emigration decreased, by 3.9% and 15.6% respectively.

The large increase in deaths was related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the FSO said. Deaths of men increased more than those of women, at 14.6% and 9.9% respectively.

No reliable statement can yet be made about the impact of the pandemic on the birth rate, the FSO said. The number of births fell slightly from 86,200 in 2019 to 85,500. Of these, almost three-quarters (72.4%) were to married parents. The average number of children per woman was 1.46. 

Record low for birth surplus

The birth surplus – the difference between births and deaths – practically halved compared with the previous year, from 18,400 to 9,500 people. This decline was mainly due to the increase in deaths, according to the statistical office.

“This means that the birth surplus is at its lowest level since 2004,” it noted. “In cantons Ticino, Bern, Basel Country, Basel City, Neuchâtel, Graubünden, Jura, Schaffhausen and Glarus, the birth surplus was even negative: more people died than children were born.”

Fewer marriages and divorces occurred in 2020, which was “probably related to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

There were 34,900 marriages, down 10.4%. While 5.2% fewer Swiss nationals tied the knot, foreign or mixed-national couples said yes 15% and 15.6% less often.

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