At the end of September 2022, Switzerland had a population of 8,935,000. Given recent levels of population growth, its population is set to surpass 9 million, claimed the newspaper SonntagsZeitung, reported RTS.
Switzerland’s rapid population growth is driven by immigration. On 1 June 2002, the free movement of people between Switzerland and the EU came into force. Since then the nation’s population has grown by 1,650,000 (+23%).
Population growth rates between 2002 and the end of 2021 were far lower in France (10%), UK (13%), Italy (4%) and Germany (1%) over the same period.
Most are drawn to Switzerland for work. In addition, Switzerland has one of Europe’s highest per capita number of refugees. In 2021, Switzerland was home to around 119,000 refugees, a number representing 1.4% of the population. The same rate was far lower in France (0.7%), Italy (0.2%), Spain (0.2%) and the UK (0.2%). Although the percentages in Germany (1.5%) and Sweden (2.3%) were higher.
High levels of immigration have not resulted in higher unemployment in Switzerland as some feared. However, population growth has put pressure on housing and infrastructure, roads and trains in particular.
Overall, Switzerland is not densely populated (216 people per square kilometre). However, if the mountainous regions, where around 10% of the population live are excluded, the average climbs to 628 people per square kilometre, a rate higher than the Netherlands (508), Belgium (308), the UK (282), Germany (240), Luxembourg (242) or Italy (206).