Young people want Switzerland to be an island

Young Swiss are more xenophobic than their parents, according to the survey Keystone

Swiss 20-year-olds believe there is no place like home and are more xenophobic than their parents, according to a new government survey.

This content was published on August 19, 2003 - 15:02

Nearly half of the young adults polled indicated they were anti-immigration and in favour of keeping Switzerland free from foreign influences.

Some 20,000 young people participated in the defence ministry study.

Almost half of them (44 per cent) said they would vote for a proposal to restrict the number of foreigners in Switzerland to ten per cent of the population.

This compared with 24 per cent of their parents' generation and 27 per cent of their grandparents' generation.

Two-thirds expected foreigners to integrate with the local population as quickly as possible.

Beat Meiner, secretary-general of the Swiss Refugee Council, told swissinfo that he was shocked by the results of the survey.

“Our future citizens are very xenophobic," said Meiner. “I am highly alarmed by this, because it is a great danger for our society."

No place like home

Swiss 20-year-olds expressed a special attachment to the area in which they grew up.

About 50 per cent saw their hometown – or at least the region in which it was located - as their ideal future place of residence. Just one-fifth wanted to live in a different part of the country.

Only a third were prepared to move to a large canton. In this respect, their views had more in common with those of their grandparents than their parents.

Therese Walter, one of the report’s authors, felt that globalisation might be to blame.

“Young people are worrying mostly about the ‘McDonald's-isation’ of the world, that there are no different cultures any more – the different cultures are evaporating,” she said.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Some 20,000 Swiss 20-year-olds took part in the survey, of which 1,400 were female.
About 18,000 were army recruits.
470 parents and 192 grandparents also participated.

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