According to government statistics released today, the number of Swiss living abroad increased by 2.9% in 2016, reaching close to 775,000. This means around 1 in 9 Swiss nationals lives outside Switzerland. Growth in the number leaving has been accelerating. In previous years the growth rate was around 2%.
At the end of 2015, there were 8,327,126 people residing in Switzerland, however only 6,278,459 were Swiss citizens. Adding in the 774,923 Swiss nationals abroad brings the total number of Swiss citizens to 7,053,382, a ratio of 1 Swiss abroad for every 8 in Switzerland.
The most popular places Swiss choose to live are France (26%), Germany (12%), USA (11%), Italy (7%), and Canada (5%), which together account for 60% of the total. The UK (5%), Spain (3%), Israel (3%) and Austria (2%), account for a further 16%. A further 11% live in the following ten countries: Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, South Africa, Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Mexico, and China (including Hong Kong). These top 20 nations together account for 87% of Swiss expatriates.
In 2016, growth was highest in the UAE (+8.5%), Portugal (+8.7%), Turkey (+8.6%), Thailand (+6.8%), Libya (+6.6%), Dominican Republic (+5.5%), Tunisia (+5.1%), Peru (+4.7%), UK (+4.6%), Japan (+3.9%) Israel (+3.9) and Germany (+3.8%). Countries showing virtually no change were: New Zealand, India, South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil. Numbers were down in Nepal, Syria and Venezuela.
73,5% of Swiss living abroad hold at least one other nationality.
The numbers are based on those registered at Swiss consular offices on 31 December 2016.