Swiss Population Grows At Fastest Rate Since 1960S, Spurred By Ukrainians

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Switzerland's population grew last year at its fastest rate in 60 years, pushed by record immigration including thousands of people from war-torn Ukraine.

This content was published on April 4, 2024 - 13:54 2 minutes Reuters

The permanent population rose by 145,400 to more than 8,960,800 by the end of 2023, an increase of 1.6%, preliminary figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed on Thursday. Without Ukrainians, the rise would have been 1%.

The increase meant population growth was greater than it has been since the beginning of the 1960s, the office said.

A spokesperson for the office said the growth rate was last higher in 1963. In 2022, the population climbed by 0.9%.

Net migration to Switzerland more than doubled to 142,300 last year, the highest number on record, the office said. Of these people, about 52,000 were Ukrainians who were not included in the permanent population until 2023, the spokesperson said. Nearly 264,000 people came to Switzerland and 121,600 left the country, the figures showed.

Nearly 63,000 Ukrainians fled to Switzerland following Russia's invasion in 2022.

Immigration has long been politically contentious in Switzerland, where the biggest group in parliament, the right-wing Swiss People's Party, has launched an initiative to stop the population exceeding ten million before 2050.

More More Swiss right-wing party hands in initiative to limit immigration

This content was published on Apr 3, 2024 The new attempt to limit immigration into Switzerland could lead to the termination of the agreement on the free movement of persons.

Read more: Swiss right-wing party hands in initiative to limit immigration

That has made containing immigration an important issue for the Swiss government in negotiations with Brussels to update economic ties with the European Union, which began in March.

The figures also showed the extent to which Switzerland relies on migrants, with births well below the so-called replacement rate of 2.1 required to keep the population stable.

In 2023, the fertility rate was 1.33 children per woman, the lowest on record. All told, some 27% of the resident population – or 2.416 million people – did not have Swiss citizenship, the office said.

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