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Working Paper

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This study analyzes trends in the population distribution of Switzerland, with focus on the period 1980-2000. It updates and extends an earlier study (Schaeffer, 1992a). The extensions include analyses of population distribution trends by region and citizenship. Results show that Switzerland experienced deconcentration in the 1970s at the cantonal level, and in the 1980s and 1990s at the district level. The results also show a trend of moving away from large densely populated districts to small, sparsely populated and medium sized districts. There was a strong suburbanization trend starting the 1950s and counter-urbanization during 1980-2000. The core urban areas experienced the slowest growth at the end of the century. Although the foreign permanent resident population increased from 11.6% at the beginning of the century to 20.7% in 2005, its role in shaping the distribution pattern is low.