Almost 685,000 Swiss nationals living abroad

Bern, Press release, 17.02.2010

The number of Swiss nationals living abroad rose in 2009 by 8,798 to 684,974. In 2000, 580,396 Swiss nationals were living abroad. The increase is caused mainly by the number of persons with dual nationality, which has risen from 405,921 to 493,468.

At the end of December 2009, 684,974 Swiss nationals were living abroad. This is an increase of 8,798 (+ 1.3 %) compared with December 2008. The annual rate of increase has now levelled off and is comparable with that of previous years.   

In 2009, the number of Swiss abroad increased especially in Europe (+ 4,946), followed by Asia (+1,790) and America (+1,461).  

In absolute figures for 2009, France leads with an increase of 1,508 persons, followed by Germany (1,126), Canada (666), Israel (585), Italy (491), Thailand (459) and Great Britain (423). The largest decreases were in Japan (-51) and India (-39). 

In percentage terms, Asia boasts the largest rate of increase, 4.7 %, followed by Oceania with 1.5 %, Europe with 1.2 %, America with 0.8 % and Africa with 0.8 %. In the European Union the rate of increase was 1.1 %. 

Among the countries with large communities of Swiss abroad (> 10,000) Israel again comes first with a growth rate of 4.3 %, followed by Canada (1.7 %), Germany and Great Britain (1.5 %), Brazil and Australia (1.4 %). 

High growth rates among countries with medium-sized communities of Swiss abroad (500–10,000) are again posted by the United Arab Emirates (13.2 %, 228 persons), Lebanon (10.3 %, 100 persons, Panama (8.3 %,  43 persons), Thailand (8.0 %, 459 persons) and Croatia (7.9 %, 71 persons).

The reasons for the changes are not stated in the statistics. 

The majority of Swiss nationals abroad - 409,849 or 60 % - live in member countries of the European Union. The largest community of Swiss abroad is found in France (179,106), followed by Germany (76,565), Italy (48,638), Great Britain (28,861), Spain (23,802) and Austria (14,194). Outside Europe, the largest number of Swiss nationals live in the USA (74,966), Canada (38,866), Australia (22,757), Argentina (15,624), Brazil (14,653), Israel (14,251) and South Africa (9,035).

493,468 persons (72 %) hold dual nationality. The largest proportion of these is in Argentina (91.2 %). 

130,017 Swiss nationals abroad – 24.59 % of the 528,705 persons living abroad and entitled to vote – have registered with a Swiss commune to exercise their right to vote. 

The statistics include all Swiss nationals who have registered with a Swiss representation. All Swiss nationals intending to take up residence in a consular district for more than 12 months are required to register (Regulations of the Swiss Diplomatic and Consular Service of 24 November 1967; SR 191.1).


Further information:

The complete statistics can be found at


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