Geneva Residents

Geneva is home to many nations - the Germans, French, Austrians, Italians, and Oriental/Asian. This is basically due to the fact that Switzerland has always welcomed refugees seeking asylum. People affected by war, political or economic instability, persecution, and other calamities flock to this country. Here they are offered the much-needed peace and tranquility to restore their lives to normal.

Another reason for this diversity is the small rate of local population growth. Swiss citizens focus primarily on getting a sound educational foundation and stabilizing their career before they start thinking about committed relationships. People are hesitant to marry, as it increases the burden of responsibility on their shoulders. Those who do marry, do so pretty late - the average age for men at marriage is 31, and for women 28.7. Consequently, Swiss women are usually well into their thirties at the birth of their first child, and most of the Swiss couples have only one or at most two children. With a small child per woman ratio (1.42), and a high divorce rate (52.6%), the Swiss family system is gradually disintegrating. The local residents are strangers amongst themselves, each individual involved and focused largely on his life and career. This leads to psychological problems, depression, and frustration, which also makes Switzerland one of the few European countries with a high suicide rate.

The country also lags behind other European nations in sexual discrimination. It may sound quite surprising, but the Genovese society had always been pretty male-dominated, and women were considered as secondary citizens. A law against discrimination was passed just recently, in 1996, which banned any kind of discrimination based on sex. But even after the passing of this law, the region is still behind its European counterparts and twin cities when it comes to sex equality.

That being said about the local population, it becomes easier to understand why the Swiss culture is dominated and shaped largely by the outsiders. Foreign influences, largely French and German, can easily be spotted in the lifestyle, attitudes, eating habits, and other traits of the Swiss nationals. For example, the number and popularity of restaurants in the city of Geneva serving French cuisine is far more than those serving Swiss dishes, or those owned and operated by Swiss nationals.

On the brighter side, this diversity has brought with it pleasant contributions to the Swiss society and culture. Events such as music and theatrical performances, the delightful variety of eatables, and the multi-linguistic social setup (dominated by French, German, Italian, and Romansch) have provided uplift to the city.

Smoking is not considered awkward or socially unacceptable in Geneva. Many citizens are usually addicted to some kind of smoking. According to the Federal Office of Health, the number of smokers constituted about 35% of the population between ages 15 to 65 (2003 survey). However, there has been an overall decrease in the number of smokers and the amount of tobacco consumed. This is due in part to the rising awareness of health risks, but largely due to a rise in the prices of tobacco products.

Genovese citizens are hard working - in fact, they are more career-oriented and ambitious than they are aspired to live and enjoy life. But when work finally takes a toll on their mood, temperament, or health, they often retire to the smoother way of life for a change. Common recreational activities include visiting the many musical performances conducted throughout the city, going to the movies, hanging out with a few friends, but the most popular activities are definitely reading (a book and a bench) and going for long walks. There is no shortage of attractive places around the city, and even the locals cannot be bored of the city at any time, as it is constantly being modified, adapted, and reinvented. Sometimes, the Genovese just prefer the convenience of their homes - they become couch potatoes in front of the television.

A large portion of the Genovese population is also involved in volunteer work, social activities, and charitable organizations.