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Where and How Do Swiss and Foreigners Live? Segregation in the Geneva and Zurich Housing Markets


cantons of Geneva and Zurich. The differences in living conditions are discussed in Section 4. Section 5 concludes and provides for areas of future research.


Context and data

In this section we describe the canton of Geneva and the municipality of Zurich in terms of population density and socio-economic composition. Our main source of information is a detailed database from the most recent Swiss Federal Population Census 2000 by the Federal Statistical Office. This database includes information on the individuals, the households as well as on the buildings and dwellings in which they live. Concerning the individuals, it provides in particular information about the gender, the number of children, the educational attainment, and the type of job. However, the dataset does not collect information about the income and access to religion is denied. From the original database we have dropped the individuals working in international organizations due to their special status, stateless individuals and those with an unknown education level. Note that, because in this paper we are also measuring housing and environmental conditions, we need to restrict our analysis of the canton of Zurich to the Zurich municipality. Indeed, we use road traffic noise to assess environmental conditions, which is precisely measured only at the municipal level for Zurich. Therefore, for comparative purposes, we refer to the whole canton of Geneva (thereafter Geneva), that extends on 245 km2 with 352 684 inhabitants, and to the municipality of Zurich (thereafter Zurich), of a size of 92 km2 and 338 239 inhabitants.

The proportion of foreigners in Geneva and Zurich amounts to 33 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively. Note that by “foreigner”, we refer to the individuals that do not possess the Swiss nationality1. As already mentioned, aside their nationality, another important characteristic differentiating individuals is of course their income level. However, since the Census does not collect data on income, we decided to focus on the achieved education level, which can be thought to be correlated with income. The Census provides quite detailed information about the education level, but we decided to differentiate individuals based on “low” vs. “high” education attainments. Individuals with low education level are defined as those who do not possess any education degree, those who just completed the compulsory school and those who completed a degree in a general cultural school or a school preparing to a professional education. Individuals with a high education attainment level are all the others, i. e. those with a secondary (e. g. training school or high school diploma) or a third degree (e. g. university diploma) education level. The proportion of indi-


The Swiss nationality is acquired either by filiation, by adoption (foreign national child adopted by a Swiss citizen) or under a naturalisation procedure. Note that there is no restriction for holding a double nationality in Switzerland.

© Seismo Verlag Zürich

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