On 6 April 2023, Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) published figures on Swiss citizens living abroad.
According to the report, in 2022, the number of Swiss citizens residing abroad exceeded 800,000, up 1.5% on 2021 and up 34% on 2002.
By 2022, 10.9% of Swiss citizens lived outside Switzerland. In Western Europe, Switzerland ranks highly on this percentage. Only Portugal and Ireland have higher rates of citizens abroad.
Of the 800,000 Swiss citizens abroad, 510,900 lived in Europe (64%), with the largest communities in France (206,400), Germany (98,100), Italy (51,200), the UK (39,500) and Spain (25,800).
The largest communities outside Europe were in the United States (82,700), Canada (41,200), Australia (26,100) and Israel (22,800).
Compared with 2021, the numbers increased on all continents: in Asia (+2.1%), in Europe (+1.9%), in Oceania (+1.0%), in America (+0.7%) and in Africa (+0.4%).
The number of Swiss abroad grew fastest among those aged 65 or more. 21% of Swiss citizens abroad were aged under 18, 56% were between 18 and 64 years and 23% were aged 65 or over. Numbers increased in all age groups by +1.6%, +0.8% and +3.4% respectively compared with 2021. The two nations proving disproportionately attractive to older Swiss were Thailand and Spain. In both countries the Swiss population was skewed towards older age groups compared to the population of Switzerland.
The net migration of Swiss nationals has been negative since 1992. This could reflect Switzerland’s high foreign population. No major nation in Europe has a foreign population as high as Switzerland’s (29%) – France (13%), Spain (15%), Germany (19%), Sweden (20%) the UK (14%) and Italy (11%) all have lower percentages. It is possible that many of the Swiss citizens living abroad emigrated back to their country of origin at some point after becoming Swiss.
75% of Swiss abroad in 2022 held more than one passport.