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Multiple groups feel ‘socially excluded’ in Switzerland

Published on October 18, 2021

Foreigners and non-German speaking Swiss citizens are particularly affected by feelings of social exclusion, according to a University of Zurich study.

The study, cited by Keystone-SDA news agency on Monday, found that as many as one in five Swiss residents feel somewhat socially excluded. A smaller fraction – three out of 100 – feel not integrated into society at all.  That feeling is most prevalent among the less educated, youth, older residents, Romansh-speakers and residents of the Italian-speaking canton Ticino.

Individuals between age 30 and 61 feel best integrated into society – particularly if they are also Swiss nationals, have a good education and live in German-speaking Switzerland. In western Switzerland and Ticino, on the other hand, more people feel excluded.

The study also found that 17% of respondents have at least some doubts about their level of integration in society, according to researchers at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Sociology, which conducted the survey in 2019. The researchers found no difference between women and men.

Contrary to expectations, poverty and unemployment did not appear to be major factors. The fact that foreigners, the young, the retired and the poorly educated did not quite feel they belonged can also be attributed to financial worries and social isolation, according to the researchers.

“Why members of Latin language groups tend to feel marginalized in Switzerland, on the other hand, remains unclear,” a University of Zurich statement said Monday, calling for future studies to examine the matter.

The survey results appeared in the Cologne Journal of Sociology and Social Psychology.