Swiss birth rate drops to record lows

Swiss birth rate drops to record lows

Wed, Apr 5th 2023

Switzerland’s population grew in 2022, but not because more babies were born according to the latest federal statistics. In fact, Switzerland saw an 8% drop in births last year.
After a small uptick in 2021, Switzerland’s birth rate dropped in 2022, according to the government.

While Switzerland’s population has continued to grow in the last few years, it is not because the Swiss are having more babies. In fact, the Swiss had 8.5% fewer babies in 2022 than compared to the year before.

Switzerland in statistics

At the end of 2022, the Swiss government reported that 8.8 million people lived in the country – about a 0.8% growth from 2021 to 2022, thanks to immigration. According to some calculations, the nation will hit a population of 9 million in 2023.

Since Switzerland agreed to an EU treaty on the free movement of people, the Swiss population has grown twice as fast as in the U.K. and in France. It has grown 20 times faster than Germany’s population, according to local newspaper Tages Anzeiger.

Switzerland’s strong economy and high quality of life is the main driver of the immigration surge; but, its environment and living conditions will bear the brunt of the population growth in time. This is why immigration will be a leading topic on Swiss voters’ ballots during the election this fall.

Meanwhile, the Swiss birth rate continues to plummet.

In 2022, a total of 82,000 babies were born to permanent Swiss residents. In 2021, a total of 1.52 children were born to every woman. In 2020, 1.46 children were born to every woman. Last year, 1.38 children were born to every woman. In Monaco, which had the highest birth rate in Europe last year, 2.09 children were born to every woman. (Read more: Swiss baby boys live the longest, OECD says).

The Swiss birth rate from 1950-2021 (Credit: Our World in Data).
What’s going on?

Many answers are possible.

Instability in the global economy often causes a downturn in population growth. These trends were noticeable during the Great Depression in the 1930s and again during the Great Recession around 2009.

And while financial instability in Switzerland has grown over the last 12 months with inflation and a war on European soil, 2021 saw growth in the Swiss economy. Switzerland’s GDP grew by 4.2% in 2021, according to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), following a 2.4% decrease in 2020 – thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. So, why were fewer babies conceived in the economic upswing of 2021 that would be born in 2022?

Another, more debatable answer may lie in the Covid-19 pandemic. While Switzerland saw a small baby boom in 2021 as a side effect of Swiss residents being asked to stay at home during 2020, that birth rate dropped off in 2022.

One answer: a Swiss study reported that fertility may be affected by Covid infection; especially pertaining to sperm count among men. In addition, there are growing concerns that the Covid-19 vaccine affects fertility – which may, on its own, have acted as a kind of birth control.

Switzerland has always boasted some of the best life expectancy rates in the world.
Life and death in Switzerland

In 2022, 73,400 people died in Switzerland – a 4.4% increase over 2021. The Swiss FSO says this is attributable to old age. About 88% of the deceased were at least 65 years old. Deaths peaked in March, July, October and December of 2022. In these 14 cantons, more people died than were born: Uri, Glarus, Appenzell, Valais, Solothurn, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Jura, Basel, Graubünden, Bern and Ticino.

Life expectancy in Switzerland remains among the best in the world. The life expectancy of a baby boy born in Switzerland in 2022 is the highest in the world at 81.6 years. For baby girls born in 2022, it is 85.4 years (a slight decrease from 2021 when it was 85.7 years). As for 65-year-old men in Switzerland in 2022, they live nearly 20 years more, on average. For 65-year-old women, they live 22.5 more years, on average.

This article may be freely shared and re-printed, provided that it prominently links back to the original article.

the swiss times
A production of UltraSwiss AG, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Copyright © 2024 UltraSwiss AG 2024 All rights reserved