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REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

Want your kid to fit in? Or stand out? Here are the most popular boys and girls names in Switzerland - including each linguistic region and canton.

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton
What are the most popular boys and girls names in Switzerland? Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Each year for more than three decades, the Federal Statistical Office has been publishing the first names of infants born in Switzerland.

The most popular names in 2020 for girls were Mia, followed by Emma and Mila.

Emma ranked first in 2019, but Mia reclaimed the top spot in 2020 after being top of the pops in 2013, 2015 and 2016. 

Revealed: Switzerland’s most popular baby names in 2020

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

For boys, Noah took the top spot, ahead of Liam and Matteo.

While Liam was top in 2019, Noah reclaimed pole position that he held in 2010, 2011 and from 2013 to 2017.

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

But as anyone who lives in Switzerland knows, nationwide trends mean very little, given the four large linguistic regions – and the remarkable diversity among the country’s 26 cantons. 

What are the most common names in each linguistic region? 

Switzerland’s domestic diversity when it comes to names is highlighted by the fact the two most popular names on a national basis are not the most popular in any one linguistic region other than the German-speaking part. 

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. 

There were 156 Gabriels born in French-speaking Switzerland and 131 Emmas. 

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

If you really want to be unique, then heading to the Romansh region in the canton of Graubünden is the place to be. 

The most popular girls’ name is a five-way tie between Daria, Laura, Lea, Lorena and Yuna, with two of each born in 2020. 

For the boys, Nic and Levin top the charts. 

18 interesting facts about Romansh, Switzerland’s fourth official language

What about at a cantonal level? 

While there were some outliers – we’re looking at you Ticino and Graubünden – linguistic regions tended to coalesce around the same boys and girls names in Switzerland. 

Where more than one name is provided, it represents a tie between the names in top place. 

Zürich (ZH) 

Girls: Mia

Boys: Noa

Aargau (AG) 

Girls: Mia

Boys: Noah

Bern / Berne (BE) 

Girls: Mia

Boys: Luca

Luzern (LU) 

Girls: Lina

Boys: Matteo

Thurgau (TG) 

Girls: Emilia

Boys: Noah

Uri (UR) 

Girls: Laura, Lorena

Boys: Luca

Schwyz (SZ) 

Girls: Lea

Boys: Leon

Obwalden (OW) 

Girls: Alina, Fiona, Mia, Leonie

Boys: Livio, Noah

Nidwalden (NW)

Girls: Lynn, Lia, Elin

Boys: Luca, Nevio, Timo

Glarus (GL) 

Girls: Fiona

Boys: Mauro

Zug (ZG) 

Girls: Mia

Boys: Matteo

Solothurn (SO)

Girls: Emilia, Lina

Boys: Noah

Basel Stadt (BS)

Girls: Emilia

Boys: Leon

Basel Land (BL)

Girls: Elena, Lina, Lia

Boys: Matteo

Schaffhausen (SH) 

Girls: Alina, Aurora, Emma

Boys: Matteo

Appenzell Ausserrhoden (AR) 

Girls: Lea

Boys: Ben, Laurin, Mattia, Silas

Appenzell Innerrhoden (AI)

Girls: Gianna, Malea

Boys: Noah

St Gallen (SG) 

Girls: Mia

Boys: Noah

Graubünden (GR) 

Girls: Emilia

Boys: Elia

Ticino (TI) 

Girls: Sofia

Boys: Leonardo

Vaud (VD) 

Girls: Emma, Zoe

Boys: Gabriel

Freiburg / Fribourg (FR) 

Girls: Emma


Valais / Wallis (VS) 

Girls: Emma

Boys: Gabriel

Neuchâtel (NE) 

Girls: Emma,


Genève (GE) 

Girls: Emma

Boys: Gabriel

Jura (JU)

Girls: Emma, Luna

Boys: Liam

What about the most popular names overall? 

The same report didn’t only look at newborns, but also all names in Switzerland – providing a top 20 of both men and women. 

The list was compiled according to figures available on the 31st of December 2020, meaning that people born in 2021 have not yet been taken into account. 

In the men’s column, the name Daniel just beat out several other biblical names including Peter and Thomas, while Hans made an appearance in fourth. 

Christian came in fifth. 

Urs, the quintessential Swiss men’s name, came in 15th on the list. 

Names of Christian origin also dominated the women’s list, with Maria a clear winner of the first place award. 

This was followed by Anna and Sandra, with Ursula and Elizabeth rounding out the top five. 

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For members


Is Switzerland’s male-only mandatory military service ‘discriminatory’?

Under Swiss law, all men must serve at least one year in compulsory national service. But is this discriminatory?

Swiss military members walk across a road carrying guns
A new lawsuit seeks to challenge Switzerland's male-only military service requirement. Is this discriminatory? FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

All men aged between the ages of 18 and 30 are required to complete compulsory military service in Switzerland. 

A lawsuit which worked its way through the Swiss courts has now ended up in the European Court of Human Rights, where the judges will decide if Switzerland’s male-only conscription requirement violates anti-discrimination rules. 

Switzerland’s NZZ newspaper wrote on Monday the case has “explosive potential” and has “what it takes to cause a tremor” to a policy which was first laid out in Switzerland’s 1848 and 1874 Federal Constitutions. 

What is Switzerland’s compulsory military service? 

Article 59 of the Federal Constitution of Switzerland says “Every man with Swiss citizenship is liable for military service. Alternative civilian service shall be provided for by law.”

Recruits must generally do 18 weeks of boot camp (longer in some cases). 

They are then required to spend several weeks in the army every year until they have completed a minimum 245 days of service.

Military service is compulsory for Swiss men aged 18 and over. Women can chose to do military service but this is rare.

What about national rather than military service? 

Introduced in 1996, this is an alternative to the army, originally intended for those who objected to military service on moral grounds. 

READ MORE: The Swiss army’s growing problem with civilian service

Service is longer there than in the army, from the age of 20 to 40. 

This must be for 340 days in total, longer than the military service requirement. 

What about foreigners and dual nationals? 

Once you become a Swiss citizen and are between the ages of 18 and 30, you can expect to be conscripted. 

READ MORE: Do naturalised Swiss citizens have to do military service?

In general, having another citizenship in addition to the Swiss one is not going to exempt you from military service in Switzerland.

However, there is one exception: the obligation to serve will be waved, provided you can show that you have fulfilled your military duties in your other home country.

If you are a Swiss (naturalised or not) who lives abroad, you are not required to serve in the military in Switzerland, though you can voluntarily enlist. 

How do Swiss people feel about military and national service? 

Generally, the obligation is viewed relatively positively, both by the general public and by those who take part in compulsory service. 

While several other European countries have gotten rid of mandatory service, a 2013 referendum which attempted to abolish conscription was rejected by 73 percent of Swiss voters. 

What is the court case and what does it say? 

Martin D. Küng, the lawyer from the Swiss canton of Bern who has driven the case through the courts, has a personal interest in its success. 

He was found unfit for service but is still required to pay an annual bill to the Swiss government, which was 1662CHF for the last year he was required to pay it. 

While the 36-year-old no longer has to pay the amount – the obligation only lasts between the ages of 18 and 30 – Küng is bring the case on principle. 

So far, Küng has had little success in the Swiss courts, with his appeal rejected by the cantonal administrative court and later by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. 

Previous Supreme Court cases, when hearing objections to men-only military service, said that women are less suitable for conscription due to “physiological and biological differences”.

In Küng’s case, the judges avoided this justification, saying instead that the matter was a constitutional issue. 

‘No objective reason why only men have to do military service’

He has now appealed the decision to the European level. 

While men have previously tried and failed when taking their case to the Supreme Court, no Swiss man has ever brought the matter to the European Court of Human Rights. 

Küng told the NZZ that he considered the rule to be unjust and said the Supreme Court’s decision is based on political considerations. 

“I would have expected the Federal Supreme Court to have the courage to clearly state the obvious in my case and not to decide on political grounds,” Küng said. 

“There is no objective reason why only men have to do military service or pay replacement taxes. On average, women may not be as physically productive as men, but that is not a criterion for excluding them from compulsory military service. 

There are quite a few men who cannot keep up with women in terms of stamina. Gender is simply the wrong demarcation criterion for deciding on compulsory service. If so, then one would have to focus on physical performance.”

Is it likely to pass? 

Küng is optimistic that the Strasbourg court will find in his favour, pointing to a successful appeal by a German man who complained about a fire brigade tax, which was only imposed on men. 

“This question has not yet been conclusively answered by the court” Küng said. 

The impact of a decision in his favour could be considerable, with European law technically taking precedence over Swiss law.

It would set Switzerland on a collision course with the bloc, particularly given the popularity of the conscription provision. 

Küng clarified that political outcomes and repercussions don’t concern him. 

“My only concern is for a court to determine that the current regulation is legally wrong.”