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More Swiss find a home away from home

The number of Swiss citizens living abroad reached 684,974 at the end of 2009, according to the foreign ministry, an increase of 1.3 per cent on the previous year.

The majority – 60 per cent – are resident in European Union countries, with the three bordering countries of France (179,106), Germany (76,565) and Italy (48,638) hosting the largest Swiss expat populations.

Outside of Europe, the United States is the most popular country for Swiss to settle in, with almost 75,000 Swiss residents, followed by Canada and Australia. Some 15,000 Swiss live in Argentina, Brazil and Israel.

The vast majority of Swiss abroad hold dual nationality. Their numbers have increased by 18 per cent in the past decade.

There is a relatively low rate of electoral participation among the 528,705 Swiss abroad who are eligible to vote. Only one in four are registered with a Swiss commune to take part in elections and referendums.

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