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  • Notes from the Federal Palace

In 2018, more than one in ten Swiss nationals lived abroad

22.05.2019 – DFAE

There were 760,200 Swiss living abroad at the end of 2018 – a slight increase on the previous year. Most are based in Europe, particularly in France. In some countries, the 65-plus age group accounts for over a quarter of Swiss living abroad.

In 2018, 760,200 Swiss were registered with a Swiss diplomatic or consular representation abroad. This represents 10.6 % of all Swiss nationals and is a 1.1 % increase on 2017. Europe is where their numbers have grown the most (+1.5 %), while Africa is the only continent showing a slight decline (-0.5 %) compared with 2017. According to the latest “Statistics on the Swiss Abroad” of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), 567,800 Swiss Abroad (74.7 %) also have at least one other nationality alongside their Swiss nationality.

Retiring abroad

Some 21 % of Swiss Abroad (162,500 people) are aged 65 or over. This age group accounts for over 25 % of Swiss Abroad in some countries including Hungary (55 %), Thailand (33 %), Spain (32 %), Portugal (28 %) and South Africa (27 %).

The gender ratio among older members of the Swiss community is balanced in Hungary, Portugal and South Africa, but tilted in favour of men in Thailand (26 % compared to 7 % women in the same age group) and women in Spain (20 % compared to 12 % men in the same age group).

People aged 80 or older make up 6 % of all Swiss Abroad (45,700 people). The largest proportion of Swiss Abroad aged 80 or older live in the USA (8 %) – followed by Italy, Canada and the UK (7 % each). Women outnumber men in this age group in the above-mentioned countries of residence. Further information and relevant publications:

Further general information on the Swiss Abroad and about living abroad is available on the FDFA website: