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Swiss Statistics

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02.08.2012 09:15  - FSO, Demography and Migration (0353-1208-00)
Estimates of Switzerland's population in 2012
Switzerland has 8 million inhabitants

Neuchâtel, 02.08.2012 (FSO) - According to the latest estimates from the Federal Statistical Office, the population of Switzerland will pass the 8 million mark during the summer of 2012. The population of Switzerland has more than tripled since 1860; but population growth has not been linear: at the end of the 19th century and between 1910 and 1930 Switzerland was a country of emigration.


If the population growth observed over recent years has continued during the first months of 2012, Switzerland will have 8 million inhabitants this summer. The FSO is not able to determine the exact date as the system of population statistics does not produce results on a daily basis. However, an estimate based on population growth at the beginning of the year confirms that the 8 million mark should be passed during the summer of 2012.


Periods of weaker and stronger population growth


Since the middle of the 19th century, the population of Switzerland has more than tripled, growing from 2.5 million in 1860 to 8 million in 2012. But this population growth has not been regular. Certain periods have seen faster population growth, for example the early 1960s, whereas other periods have seen a slowing down or even a decline in population.


The strongest growth was recorded in the years from 1950 to 1970, a period during which annual population growth was on average greater than 1.4%. It fell to its lowest level (+0.15%) during the decade from 1970 to 1980, following restrictions on the immigration of foreign workers and the economic crisis of 1975 and 1976. In the middle of the 1970s, the number of inhabitants in Switzerland even registered a decline (1976 -0.6%). Population growth increased again in the 1980s (+0.6% on average per year) and gained some strength in the 1990s (annual average of 0.7% for the decade). From 2000, growth was 0.9% on average, but since 2007 it has been 1% or higher.


The factors of population growth


The two factors of population growth are on the one hand natural increase, i.e. the difference between the number of births and deaths and on the other net migration i.e. the difference between the number of immigrations and the number of emigrations.


Since the middle of the 19th century, Switzerland has always recorded positive natural growth, except in 1918, the year of the Spanish flu. Natural increase was particularly strong at the beginning of the 20th century as well as in the 1960s, the baby boom years.


Net migration was fairly weak until the early 1950s. Switzerland was a country of emigration at the end of the 19th century and between 1910 and 1930. From 1950 net migration became an important factor of population growth. It is, however, subject to rapid and significant change. Thus it fell from +100,000 in 1961 to -58,000 in 1975. Recently, in 1996 and 1997, Switzerland registered negative net migration. Since the early 2000s net migration has been the main factor of population growth of our country. Currently, almost 80% of population growth is due to net migration.


Fewer young people, more older people


The age pyramid changed considerably during the 20th century. The proportion of young people (aged under 20) fell from 40.7% in 1900 to 20.9% in 2010. The proportion of older people (over 64) grew from 5.8% to 16.9%. The increase is particularly marked (from 0.5% to 4.7%) for persons from the fourth age group (80 or over). This phenomenon, known as population ageing, is a result of the extension of life expectancy and above all a decline in fertility. It is set to continue during the 21st century. The share of persons aged 65 or over should grow from 16.9% (2010) to approximately 28% in 2060.


 


Information:


Marcel Heiniger, FSO, Section Demography and Migration, tel.: +41 32 71 36874,


Information desk Section Demography and Migration, email: info.dem@bfs.admin.ch


FSO Press Office, tel.: +41 32 71 36013; fax: +41 32 71 36346, email: kom@bfs.admin.ch

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