Relationships and marriage popular

A couple swirling on the dance floor in Buerglen during an afternoon for pensioners Keystone

More than three-quarters of people in Switzerland between the ages of 18 and 80 are in a relationship and most of these partners live together, a federal study shows.

The 77% relationship rate for heterosexual couples reflects women and men of all ages, according to the first such snapshot of the population reported by the Federal Statistical Office on Thursday. With or without children, most couples are married. Nevertheless, for those with kids it is far more common to tie the knot.

Marriage is the most common form of coupling in Switzerland: four-fifths of those living together with a partner of the opposite sex are married. However, important differences appear along the lines of gender and age.

Taking the plunge

Among women and men between the ages of 25 and 80 who have lived together for at least two years and have children, only 5% remain unmarried. For couples living together without children, some 41% are unmarried.

Younger women between the ages of 18 to 44 are more often involved in a relationship. After the age of 45, the reverse is true; men are more often found with a partner. Among those aged 65 or older, the differences become more pronounced: 38% of women and 15% of men are single.

Among couples of all ages, 15% do not live together. The phenomenon is particularly common among younger people. As many as 74% of those aged 18-25 and as few as 19% of those aged 25 to 34 do not live with their partner. The percentage drops to 10% for those aged 35 and up.

Decisions, decisions

For most couples, the big decisions (big purchases, educating children) are taken equally by both partners, but for daily purchases it is the woman who usually decides for half of the families. This tendency accentuates after having children.

Disagreements are primarily about educating children; doing the household chores; and how to spend leisure time. Households with children argued more than those without, particularly when it came to disagreements over taking care of chores.

Five years after a relationship ended, 76% of women and 84% of men between the ages of 25 and 34 had moved on. The rates fell to 40% for women and 66% for men between the ages of 35 to 54.

Just 3% of women and 33% of men between the ages of 55 to 80 had taken another partner.


The groundbreaking study of couples was conducted for the first time in 2013 and will be repeated every five years.

It is based on responses to the random sampling of 34,818 people between the ages of 15 and 80.

There were 17'288 respondents to the survey – a 50% participation rate – of whom 53% were women and 47% were men.

Responses to the survey provided insufficient data to assess same-sex couples. The survey was done in French, German and Italian.

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