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Switzerland could hit the 9 million population mark

People walking through the city centre of the Swiss capital, Bern © Keystone / Christian Beutler

The Swiss population is set to surpass the 9 million mark in 2023, according to calculations by the SonntagsZeitung.

“If the permanent and non-permanent resident population are added together, Switzerland is likely to exceed the threshold of nine million inhabitants this year,” the newspaper wrote on Sunday.

Since the introduction of the free movement of people with the European Union (EU), the Swiss population has grown twice as fast as that of France or the United Kingdom – and twenty times faster than that of Germany, due to high levels of immigration. The reasons behind this: Switzerland’s high quality of life and flourishing economy, the paper said.

There will be consequences for the environment, infrastructure and living conditions, the newspaper warned. Green areas will be built over, traffic will keep increasing and the country’s CO2 reduction targets will become even harder to reach. The SonntagsZeitung said it expected immigration to be a key topic in Switzerland in election year 2023.

‘Two sides’

Economic historian Tobias Straumann, interviewed in the newspaper, said there were two sides to the situation.

“Switzerland certainly benefits from immigration, but it is also associated with disadvantages and costs,” he said. Fears over increased unemployment and salaries decreasing due to the free movement of people have not come to pass, Straumann pointed out.

But overall immigration was a zero-sum game for the country. “We may have full employment, a stable economy and growth, but per capita prosperity is only increasing slowly and is by far not benefiting everyone,” he said.

According to the latest official figures, Switzerland’s permanent resident population reached 8,738,800 at the end of 2021, which is 0.8% more than in 2020.

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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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