Switzerland abroad - the size of Canton Vaud

Bern, 23.01.2014 - The 732,183 Swiss citizens living abroad, a group also referred to as the Fifth Switzerland, corresponds in population to the canton of Vaud, Switzerland's third-largest canton. This finding comes from the annual statistics on the Swiss Abroad published by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), in which all Swiss citizens registered at a Swiss representation abroad are entered.

In 2013, the number of Swiss citizens living abroad rose by 2.3%, which is above the average of the last five years. The largest expatriate Swiss communities, due in large part to the free movement of persons with the EU, are to be found in Europe (452,965 persons, of which 96.71% live in the EU), and of this number 77.6% (339,912), live in Switzerland's four large neighbouring countries: France (191,362), Germany (82,626), Italy (50,716) and Austria (15,208).

The largest expatriate Swiss communities outside Europe continue to be found in the USA (77,520, +1.58% since 2012), Canada (39,253, +0.75%), Australia (24,007, +1.58%) and Israel (16,913, +5.9%). There have been no changes at the other end of the statistical range, where the island states of São Tomé and Principe, Micronesia and Kiribati are home to one Swiss national each. Thus, there is hardly a country in the world in which at least one Swiss national is not living.

Together, the 155,523 Swiss Abroad enrolled on a Swiss voting register (27.26% of the Swiss Abroad eligible to vote) have the voting weight of a medium-sized canton with a population similar to the cantons of Ticino, Thurgau or Valais. In 2014, about 10,200 Swiss citizens abroad will reach the age of majority and become eligible to participate in referendums and elections. With a youth percentage of 21.58% (157,993), Switzerland Abroad is also comparable to Canton Vaud.

The statistics on the Swiss Abroad are compiled by the Consular Directorate of the FDFA in Bern. They contain all Swiss citizens who have registered at a Swiss representation abroad. The total number of Swiss citizens living in the Principality of Liechtenstein (not disaggregated) is provided by the Office for Statistics in Vaduz and reflects the previous year's level (2012).

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs