Where do Swiss citizens migrate to?
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Swiss citizens also cross borders: every year there are almost 50,000 arrivals and departures of Swiss citizens from or to other countries. In 2014, the main destination countries were France, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Those choosing these destinations were first and foremost people of the right age to undertake paid employment, which would indicate that these international departures were work-related. Given that this age group is also one in which many people live in partnerships, it is likely that family reasons were another factor.
Net migration between Switzerland and other countries for the period from 2011 to 2014 makes it possible to provide insights into these flows.
Net numbers of departures – in other words, more departures than arrivals – were 3,200 Swiss nationals to Germany, 2,000 to France, 1,500 to Thailand and 1,300 to the United Kingdom. For the United States this number was less than 600, which appears to indicate that it is a more temporary destination.
During this same period, there was also a net return – where the number of arrivals in Switzerland is higher than the number of departures to these countries – of Swiss nationals from Southern Europe (Italy, Greece, and Spain).
Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, STATPOP statistics (2010–2014)
Note on the methodology: A person’s country of residence after their departure and prior to their arrival in Switzerland is recorded as part of the migration flow declaration. However, information is missing for approximately 15% of departures and 10% of arrivals involving Swiss citizens. This missing information is distributed proportionally among the various countries. Only movements that involve a change of residence are used for this statistic: this means that people whose primary place of residence remains in Switzerland (or who already have a primary place of residence in Switzerland on their return) are not recorded.
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