• Notes from the Federal Palace

One fifth of Swiss Abroad are younger than 18


At the end of 2020, 776,300 Swiss were living abroad. The “Fifth Switzerland” therefore has roughly the same population as the canton of Vaud. Our focus on young people in this edition of “Swiss Review” is pertinent, not least in view of the latest government statistics on Swiss citizens living abroad, which show that 21 per cent of Swiss Abroad are under 18.

The number of Swiss who live abroad and are registered with a Swiss representation increased in 2020 by 0.7 per cent to 776,300. According to statistics published by the Federal Statistical Office, 163,800 of Swiss Abroad are under 18. This figure is slightly up on the previous year. Children and teenagers therefore account for a good fifth of the “Fifth Switzerland”.

In relation to this young demographic, it is noticeable how the numbers vary from continent to continent: up in Europe (+1.3%), but down in Africa (-5.6%), the Americas (-2.1%), Asia (-1.5%) and Oceania (-1.2%).

Enlarged view of the statistics

In absolute terms, France was home to the highest number of young people with Swiss passports at the end of 2020, with 42,500. Next came Germany (21,000), the USA (14,300), Israel (9,900), Italy (9,400) and the UK (8,800). The picture is different when we look at the proportion of young people in relation to the entire Swiss expatriate communities of individual countries. Israel is the country with the youngest Swiss community, with 46 per cent who are aged under 18. The UK, Chile, and Turkey have the next-youngest Swiss populations, with 24 to 28 per cent under 18.

More than four fifths of all 163,800 Swiss Abroad under 18 have one or more nationalities in addition to Swiss citizenship. The proportion is particularly high in countries including Turkey, Italy and Chile, where 94 to 97 per cent of the younger demographic have at least one other nationality.