Zurich to vote on improving naturalisation requirements

On Sunday, May 15th, Zurich voters will head to the polls to vote on making naturalisation easier for the estimated 350,000 foreigners who live there, along with three other canton-specific questions. Here's what you need to know.

Zurich voters will cast their ballots on easier naturalisation. Photo by ANDY MUELLER / EQ IMAGES / AFP
Zurich voters will cast their ballots on easier naturalisation. Photo by ANDY MUELLER / EQ IMAGES / AFP

Sunday, May 15th, sees the latest round of Swiss referenda. 

On a federal level, three questions are up for consideration: Netflix and streaming, organ donation rules and Frontex. More information on these votes are available at the following links. 

READ MORE: What is the ‘Netflix vote’ and how could it change TV in Switzerland?

EXPLAINED: What Switzerland’s ‘organ donation’ vote means for you

Frontex: How Switzerland’s ‘border vote’ on May 15th could impact travel

There are also dozens of referendum questions being asked at a cantonal level all across the country. 

What is on the ballot in Zurich on May 15th?

In addition to the above federal votes, there will be several other issues put to the voters in the canton of Zurich on Sunday. 

Perhaps the most relevant for Local readers is the referendum on improving the naturalisation process, including making the system uniform across each of the canton’s 162 municipalities. 

Detailed information is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How Zurich wants to make naturalisation easier

Zurich voters will also decide on lowering the voting age from 18 to 16. 

This would make it only the second canton to have lowered the voting age from 18 to 16, following on from Glarus, who did so in 2007. 

Referendum: Zurich to vote on lower voting age

Another question for voters to consider is putting the commitment to curb climate change in the cantonal constitution. 

According to the Zurich government “the planned new constitutional article defines the goal of greenhouse gas neutrality, or “net zero” for short.”

“It gives the canton and the municipalities a binding mandate to work towards limiting climate change and its effects. It also defines the fields of action for measures and creates the basis for the promotion of suitable technologies, materials and processes.”

The fourth question for Zurich voters to consider looks to expand parental leave. 

Currently, mothers are entitled to 14 weeks maternity leave and fathers two weeks in Switzerland. 

Under the Zurich plan, both parents would be entitled to 18 weeks of parental leave, provided they live in the canton of Zurich. 

Parents who work in Zurich but do not live in Zurich will be entitled to 14 weeks each, rather than 18. 

The plan will be funded by additional employer and employee contributions. 

More information about all of the questions can be found here (in German). 

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REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

Zurich’s most popular baby names from 2021 have been revealed. A strong trend towards short names has emerged - and there’s barely an Urs or Ursula in sight.

REVEALED: What are Zurich’s most popular baby names?

On Thursday, Zurich council published its list of most popular baby names in 2021. 

During 2021, 5,251 babies were born across the canton, which is Switzerland’s most populous. 

On top of the list for boys was Noah, with 27 of the boys born last year receiving the biblical name. 

The leader for the girls was a little more controversial, with two different names laying claim to the crown. 

While 28 of the girls born in Zurich last year were called Olivia, there were 44 girls born in total with a variation of Sophia/Sofia. 

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

Short names dominated both lists, with Emma, Anna, Ella and Mia ranking high for girls, alongside Leo, Louis and Theo for boys. 

Another trend is that diversity is on the slide in Zurich, with fewer names given than in previous years. 

Swiss tabloid Blick reports that while 15 years ago there were 62 different names for every 100 people, there were less than 50 (48 for girls and 47 for boys) in 2021. 

Middle names are also on the rise in Switzerland, with 57 percent having one in 2021 compared to 48 percent in the 1990s. 

How does this compare to Switzerland? 

Although the 2021 figures haven’t been released for Switzerland, those from 2020 showed Noah was popular across the country as the favourite boys name. 

Olivia however was not even in the top five for girls names in Switzerland, where Mia, Emma and Mila were the most popular. 

Much like pretty much everything in Switzerland, there are significant differences between linguistic regions. 

In total, there were 461 Mias born in Switzerland last year, followed by 407 Emmas and 350 Milas.

Switzerland saw 507 Noahs born last year, followed by 372 Liams and 359 Matteos.

Mia and Noah are the most popular names in German-speaking Switzerland as well as in the country as a whole, which is of course helped by the fact that around 60 percent of Switzerland speaks German.

French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandie, saw Gabriel and Emma top the charts in 2020.

Sofia claimed top prize in the Italian-speaking part of the country, while Leonardo was far and away the biggest winner among the boys.

The situation is slightly different among Switzerland’s foreigners, with many opting to stick with names popular in their home countries, rather than those in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: What are the most popular baby names among foreigners in Switzerland?