idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Nachrichten, Termine, Experten

Grafik: idw-Logo
Thema Corona

Science Video Project
idw-News App:


Share on: 
10/18/2021 09:10

80 Percent of People in Switzerland Feel Fully Integrated into Society

Melanie Nyfeler Kommunikation
Universität Zürich

    Only very few people in Switzerland feel highly excluded – including mostly foreigners, less educated people, young people as well as older people. Some in the French- and Italian-speaking regions do not feel fully integrated into society either, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich.

    Social exclusion is currently a topic that’s being broadly discussed in the public sphere. It generally refers to a multidimensional process that is shaped by changes in the economic structure over the past few decades and is pushing an increasing share of the population to the economic margins, be it through unemployment, poverty or uncertain living conditions. It is commonly assumed that this results in social isolation among those affected, leaving them feeling excluded from public life.

    Inclusion is a basic need

    In a recent study, researchers at the Institute of Sociology of the University of Zurich (UZH) explored how widespread such feelings of exclusion are among the Swiss population, and what causes them. Their study is based on a representative survey carried out at the end of 2019, i.e. shortly before the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.

    “Being part of a social group is a basic human need,” says Professor Jörg Rössel from the Institute of Sociology at UZH. “Our results show that only a very small percentage – 2.9 percent – of those surveyed feel left out, while 80.4 percent of the people we interviewed do at all not feel excluded.”

    16.8 percent of survey participants show medium values on the scale of exclusion, i.e. they have at least some doubts concerning their full inclusion into society.

    Increased feeling of exclusion outside of German-speaking Switzerland

    A closer look at the data reveals which groups of people are more likely to feel marginalized. Feelings of exclusion are thus more pronounced among 18- to 30-year-olds and people over the age of 61 than in people belonging to the age groups in the middle. People with low levels of education are also more likely to feel disadvantaged.

    Increased levels of perceived exclusion were also observed in people who aren’t Swiss citizens, and in the French- and Italian-speaking regions of the country. The French- and Italian-speaking population feel more excluded than people in German-speaking Switzerland, with 26.7 percent of surveyed French speakers and 25.7 percent of Italian-speaking Swiss feeling somewhat or highly excluded.

    Subjective view of circumstances

    According to the researchers, these feelings of exclusions are rooted in particular in the survey respondents’ precarious financial circumstances and social isolation as well as in their subjective view of their situation. Why people in the French- and Italian-speaking regions are more likely to feel marginalized remains unclear, however. Additional research is needed to answer this question, say the study authors.

    Overall, the results show that social exclusion isn’t the widespread phenomenon as which it is often portrayed. This means that policy measures can be targeted towards the groups of people who are particularly affected.

    Contact for scientific information:

    Prof. Jörg Rössel
    Institute of Sociology
    University of Zurich
    Phone: +41 44 635 23 33

    Original publication:

    Audrey Djouadi, Jörg Rössel, Alexander Seifert: Wer fühlt sich exkludiert? Zur zeitdiagnostischen Verwendung des Konzepts der sozialen Exklusion. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 12 Oct 2021.

    More information:

    Criteria of this press release:
    Journalists, all interested persons
    Economics / business administration, Philosophy / ethics, Psychology, Social studies, Teaching / education
    transregional, national
    Research results, Transfer of Science or Research


    Search / advanced search of the idw archives
    Combination of search terms

    You can combine search terms with and, or and/or not, e.g. Philo not logy.


    You can use brackets to separate combinations from each other, e.g. (Philo not logy) or (Psycho and logy).


    Coherent groups of words will be located as complete phrases if you put them into quotation marks, e.g. “Federal Republic of Germany”.

    Selection criteria

    You can also use the advanced search without entering search terms. It will then follow the criteria you have selected (e.g. country or subject area).

    If you have not selected any criteria in a given category, the entire category will be searched (e.g. all subject areas or all countries).