Press releases, 01.03.2017

According to FDFA's Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, at the end of 2016 there were 774,923 Swiss citizens living abroad who were registered with a Swiss representation. France, with over 200,000 resident Swiss nationals, was the country with the largest Swiss expatriate community, followed by Germany, the US and Italy. Overall, the number of Swiss nationals resident abroad grew by 21,784 in 2016, i.e. a 2.9% increase. This percentage is above the level of growth for previous years, which stood at around 2%. 73.5% of Swiss citizens living abroad held dual nationality.

The Swiss community abroad grew by about 3% in 2016.

At the end of 2016, more than 200,000 Swiss citizens were living in France – for the first time in history. Nearly 90,000 Swiss nationals were living in Germany, around 80,000 in the US, and 50,000 in Italy. Looking at continents, around 60% of Swiss nationals resident abroad were living in Europe and just under 25% in America, followed by Asia, Oceania and Africa.

There was an increase of around 2.9% in the number of Swiss nationals living abroad in 2016, indicating a higher increase than the average of approximately 2% in previous years.

The biggest growth in percentage terms for any one region was in Asia (up 4.3%). Growth rates in Europe varied from country to country: there were bigger increases in Germany (up 3.8%) and the UK (up 4.6%) than in France (up 2.5%) and Italy (up 1.8%). The statistics also reveal significant increases in, for example, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Lebanon and certain Maghreb countries. In a considerable number of countries, there was no significant change in the size of the Swiss population, e.g. in New Zealand, China, India, South Africa, Argentina and Brazil.

In 2016, almost three quarters of the Swiss nationals living abroad had one or more other nationalities alongside their Swiss citizenship. The percentage share of those with multiple nationality stopped growing in 2016 compared with the previous year, indeed being slightly decreased. The increased growth in the number of Swiss citizens living abroad indicates that more Swiss nationals moved abroad than returned to Switzerland. The Federal Statistical Office's migration statistics, which will be published at the end of August 2017, will provide more precise information.

Following an overhaul to modernise the registration system, the figures for the previous year are being gradually updated in the new statistics. This will mean that for instance births and other events that were recorded with the registry office and already took place the previous year but are only reported the following year will be added to the previous year's figures. For this reason, the data that listed for comparative purposes as being for 2015 differs slightly from the statistics for 2015 published in early 2016.

Further information:

Statistics on the Swiss Abroad 2016 (de)
Statistics on Swiss abroad on the FDFA Website

Additional information about the Statistics on Swiss abroad with analyses and tables(pdf, 391kb)

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last update 19.07.2023

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FDFA Communication

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