In a recent survey, 38% of Swiss nationals reported feeling uncomfortable in the presence of people they perceive as different.
In 2020, researchers surveyed 3,258 residents of Switzerland aged between 15 and 88 asked them a wide range of questions.
The group most likely to experience discomfort in the presence of those they perceived to be different to themselves were those born in Switzerland (39%) and Swiss citizens (38%). Those least likely to feel uncomfortable around such people were foreign nationals (19%) and those with a migration background (20%).
Likelihood of discomfort rose with age and falling population density. Those over 65 (39%) were more likely to feel uncomfortable around people different to themselves than those aged 15 to 24 (31%), 25 to 29 (30%), 40 to 54 (31%) and 55 to 64 (34%). Those living in cities reported less chance of feeling discomfort (27%) than people living in the least populated zones (38%).
Men (35%) had more chance of feeling uncomfortable than women (31%), and German and Romanche speakers (37%) were more likely than French and Italian speakers (24%) to feel discomfort.
Context mattered too. Overall, feelings of discomfort were most likely to occur at work (23%) and around home (19%) than during daily life (18%).
At the same time, a high percentage of residents reported experiencing discrimination. The most commonly reported forms of discrimination were nationality (56%), language or accent (35%), gender (27%), political views (20%), age (20%), religion (19%), professional position (18%), skin colour (16%), socio-economic group (14%) and ethnicity (14%).