Where in Switzerland are migrants naturalized most often?
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The average naturalization rate in Switzerland in 2014 was 1.75%: in other words, for every 100 foreigners residing permanently in Switzerland, just under two became naturalized during the year. Almost 33,000 people were naturalized in Switzerland in 2014.
The naturalization data for the municipalities and cantons reflects the variation in naturalization practices: in 2014, the naturalization rates (including both ordinary and facilitated naturalizations) ranged from just over 1% in Glaris to 2.3% in Neuchatel.
In terms of municipalities, Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Lausanne have recorded the highest numbers of ordinary and facilitated naturalizations over the past seventeen years (with a total of 110,000 naturalizations occurring in these cities).
Yet the highest naturalization rates were seen in medium-sized municipalities. Of the municipalities with at least 1,000 foreign nationals, Dietikon (ZH), with 3.3%, and Burgdorf (BE) and Oberengstringen (ZH), both with 3.2%, have the highest average annual rates of ordinary naturalizations. For the municipalities of Menziken and Reinach in Aargau, along with Zermatt (VS), the naturalization rate is ten times lower (less than 0.5%). Only ordinary naturalizations are taken into account for the purpose of municipal comparisons, as facilitated naturalizations are primarily the responsibility of the Confederation.
Permanent resident population: The population of Swiss and foreign nationals holding a residence permit with a duration of more than twelve months. Since 2011, the term “permanent resident population” has also included foreign nationals holding an F or N permit who have been in Switzerland for twelve months or more.
Ordinary naturalization: This applies to all foreign nationals who meet the conditions laid down by the federal authorities, as well as the cantonal and municipal conditions, which can vary widely from one canton or municipality to another. The application must be submitted to the cantonal or municipal authorities.
Facilitated naturalization: Facilitated naturalization is an option mainly for the spouses of Swiss citizens and the children of a Swiss citizen who do not yet hold Swiss citizenship, subject to certain legal conditions. This falls under the jurisdiction of the federal authorities.
Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Central Register of Foreigners (1998–2007), SYMIC Register (2008–2010), STATPOP statistics (2010–2014)
Note on the methodology: Naturalization rates are arrived at by dividing the number of ordinary or facilitated naturalizations by the population of permanent residents of foreign nationality as at the start of the year. Until 2010, the resident population included holders of B or C permits, as well as those who had held an L permit for twelve months or more. It should be noted that the definition of the permanent resident population has changed since 2010, when demographic statistics started to include persons who have been involved in the asylum-seeking process in Switzerland for twelve months or more. This change has not significantly affected the rates.
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