The times of “2 parents, 2 kids” types of families are long gone. My own experience is that loads of people divorce, have blended families or stay single and raise the kids alone.

So where shall we start our fact-finding mission of what does family life mean in Switzerland? I want to get past simple impressions; just because in my own environment certain things look “true”, that doesn’t mean they are real. Being politically correct and facts are not the best of friends either, and I prefer facts because I’m a curious kind of person. I want to find out what’s going on around me in Switzerland. So where shall I start?

Statistical Offices look super boring but are actually the most exciting places once we are on a fact-finding mission. They clarify so much. I’ve learned more about the realities of Geneva from the cantonal statistical office’swebsite than 20 years of daily life.

Did you know that in 2020 there were more men than women living in the country? Did you know that close to half of the Swiss population (47%) lived alone or in a couple? Did you know that less than a quarter of Switzerland (24%) lives in 4-people-households? Did you know that close to half of the people who get married eventually divorce? Did you know that 2021, thanks to Covid, was the year when the highest number of babies were born in recent history? Did you know that women become mothers on average between 30 and 34 in Switzerland?

What does the above statistics show? First, in Switzerland people are free to choose what they want and so some people choose not to have children at all and others to have large families. People can be themselves and their freedoms are fully respected. The statistics also shows that Switzerland is an individualistic country where individual decisions are taken seriously.

And those decisions mean that women give birth later in life. High living costs, financial stability (or lack of thereof) and the time it takes to find a long-term partner must also be contributing factors why women become first-time mothers between ages 30 to 34.

Most surprisingly, though, statisticsclearly point to perceptions that life in Switzerland is not particularly easy. Otherwise, if raising kids was a piece of cake, many more people would choose to do it at a much younger age, right?

I’m sorry if the Statistical Office crushed your expectations of Switzerland. I stand with the idea that knowledge is power. And we are here to empower you, right?Deal.

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