This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Switzerland Gets Uncomfortable With Too Many Asylees

Switzerland has long been a place known to be comfortable sheltering both people and money. The US has been pushing Swiss banks to drop their secrecy with respect to bank accounts, but the Swiss themselves have decided to change their rules about asylum seekers. BBC News reports the final results of a referendum held last September, in which 80 percent of Swiss voters approved tightening up the eligibility rules.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes, in Geneva, says Switzerland has a long tradition of generosity towards asylum seekers - its proportion of refugees per head of population is twice the European average.
But the number of asylum seekers is rising sharply and is at its highest in a decade.
That, coupled with sharp rises in immigration overall, has led to public concern that too many people are coming to Switzerland, our correspondent says.
Switzerland counts one asylum seeker for every 332 inhabitants. The European average is one asylum seeker for every 625 inhabitants.

Human rights groups were naturally upset about this result and are trying to gain support to overturn the new rules, but as I have often mentioned, the increasing number of refugees and asylees in the world has forced European countries, especially a smaller one such as Switzerland (population about 8 million), to deeply contemplate their demographic futures.

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