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Switzerland country facts

Swiss Confederation Europe Bern 8,061,516 inhabitants 41,277 sq km 195.30 inhabitants/sq km Swiss francs (CHF) population evolution

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The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.



Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Geographic coordinates

47 00 N, 8 00 E

Area (sq km)

total: 41,277 sq km
land: 39,997 sq km
water: 1,280 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries (km)

total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km

Coastline (km)

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers


mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

Natural resources

hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use (%)

arable land: 9.8%
permanent crops: 0.57%
other: 89.63% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

550 sq km (2007)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

53.5 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 2.61 cu km/yr (39%/58%/3%)
per capita: 360.3 cu m/yr (2010)

Natural hazards

avalanches, landslides; flash floods

Environment - current issues

air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note

landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps

People and Society


noun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss

Ethnic groups (%)

German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%

Languages (%)

German (official) 64.9%, French (official) 22.6%, Italian (official) 8.3%, Serbo-Croatian 2.5%, Albanian 2.6%, Portuguese 3.4%, Spanish 2.2%, English 4.6%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 5.1%
note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages; totals more than 100% because some respondents indicated more than one main principal language (2012 est.)

Religions (%)

Roman Catholic 38.2%, Protestant 26.9%, Muslim 4.9%, other Christian 5.7%, other 1.6%, none 21.4%, unspecified 1.3% (2012 est.)


8,061,516 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 15.1% (male 627,952/female 591,528)
15-24 years: 11.4% (male 469,536/female 451,547)
25-54 years: 43.9% (male 1,775,571/female 1,760,456)
55-64 years: 12% (male 484,278/female 486,220)
65 years and over: 17.3% (male 616,009/female 798,419) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Switzerland

Median age (years)

total: 42 years
male: 41 years
female: 42.9 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

0.78% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

10.48 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

5.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 73.7% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 0.49% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Zurich 1.194 million; BERN (capital) 353,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

8 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 3.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 82.39 years
male: 80.1 years
female: 84.81 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

1.54 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

10.9% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

4.08 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

5 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

0.4% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

18,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

17.5% (2008)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

5.2% of GDP (2010)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 8.4%
male: 8.8%
female: 8.1% (2012)


Country name

conventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian); Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh)
local short form: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); Svizra (Romansh)

Government type

formally a confederation but similar in structure to a federal republic


name: Bern
geographic coordinates: 46 55 N, 7 28 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; Kantone, singular - Kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern/Berne, Fribourg/Freiburg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubuenden/Grischun/Grigioni, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais/Wallis, Vaud, Zug, Zuerich
note: 6 of the cantons - Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Nidwalden, Obwalden - are referred to as half cantons because they elect only one member to the Council of States and, in popular referendums where a majority of popular votes and a majority of cantonal votes are required, these six cantons only have a half vote


1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)

National holiday

Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)


previous 1848, 1874 (extensive revision of 1848 version); latest adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, effective 1 January 2000; amended several times, last in 2012 (2012)

Legal system

civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts, except for federal decrees of a general obligatory character

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President of the Swiss Confederation Didier BURKHALTER (since 1 January 2014); Vice President Simonetta SOMMARUGA (since 1 January 2014; note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of seven federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate in one-year terms as federal president (chief of state and head of government)
head of government: President of the Swiss Confederation Didier BURKHALTER (since 1 January 2014); Vice President Simonetta SOMMARUGA (since 1 January 2014)
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) is elected by the Federal Assembly usually from among its members for a four-year term
elections: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for a one-year, non-consecutive term; election last held on 5 December 2012 (next to be held in early December 2013)
election results: Didier BURKHALTER elected president; Federal Assembly vote - 183 of 202; Simonetta SOMMARUGA elected vice president

Legislative branch

bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblee Federale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of the Council of States or Staenderat (in German), Conseil des Etats (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats; membership consists of 2 representatives from each canton and 1 from each half canton; members serve four-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (in German), Conseil National (in French), Consiglio Nazionale (in Italian) (200 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held in most cantons on 23 October 2011 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held on 23 October 2011 (next to be held in October 2015)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 13, FDP 11, SVP 5, SPS 11, other 6; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 26.6%, SPS 18.7%, FDP 15.1%, CVP 12.3%, Green Party 8.4%, GLP 5.4%, BDP 5.4%, other 8.1%; seats by party - SVP 54, SPS 46, FDP 30, CVP 28, Green Party 15, GLP 12, BDP 9, other small parties 6

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of 38 judges and 31 substitutes and organized into 5 sections)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Federal Assembly for 6-year terms; note - judges are affiliated with political parties and are elected according to linguistic and regional criteria in approximate proportion to the level of party representation in the Federal Assembly
subordinate courts: Federal Criminal Court (began in 2004); Federal Administrative Court (began in 2007); note - each of Switzerland's 26 cantons has its own courts

Political parties and leaders

Christian Democratic People's Party (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Popolare Democratico Svizzero or PPD, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Christophe DARBELLAY]
Conservative Democratic Party (Buergerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz or BDP, Parti Bourgeois Democratique Suisse or PBD, Partito Borghese Democratico Svizzero or PBD, Partido burgais democratica Svizera or PBD) [Martin LANDOLT]
Free Democratic Party or FDP.The Liberals (FDP.Die Liberalen, PLR.Les Liberaux-Radicaux, PLR.I Liberali, Ils Liberals) [Philipp MUELLER]
Green Liberal Party (Grunliberale or GLP, Parti vert liberale or PVL, Partito Verde-Liberale or PVL, Partida Verde Liberale or PVL) [Martin BAEUMLE]
Green Party (Gruene Partei der Schweiz or Gruene, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Adele THORENS]
Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialiste Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christian LEVRAT]
Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica di Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Toni BRUNNER]
and other minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, EITI (implementing country), ESA, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Manuel SAGER (since 1 November 2010)
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
consulate(s): Boston

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jeffrey R. CELLARS (since 22 July 2013); note - also accredited to Liechtenstein
embassy: Sulgeneckstrasse 19, CH-3007 Bern
mailing address: use Embassy street address
telephone: [41] (031) 357-70-11
FAX: [41] (031) 357-73-44

Flag description

red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag; various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag; a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339)

National symbol(s)

Swiss cross (white cross on red field; arms equal length)

National anthem

name: "Schweizerpsalm" [German] "Cantique Suisse" [French] "Salmo svizzero," [Italian] "Psalm svizzer" [Romansch] (Swiss Psalm)
lyrics/music: Leonhard WIDMER [German], Charles CHATELANAT [French], Camillo VALSANGIACOMO [Italian], and Flurin CAMATHIAS [Romansch]/Alberik ZWYSSIG
note: unofficially adopted 1961, official adoption 1981; the anthem has been popular in a number of Swiss cantons since its composition (in German) in 1841; translated into the other three official languages of the country (French, Italian, and Romansch), it is official in each of those languages


Economy - overview

Switzerland is a peaceful, prosperous, and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies. The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of all Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled export demand and put Switzerland in a recession. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) during this period effectively implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy as well as prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010. The sovereign debt crises currently unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries pose a significant risk to Switzerland's financial stability and are driving up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safe-haven currency. The independent SNB has upheld its zero-interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year during 2011-13. Switzerland has also come under increasing pressure from individual neighboring countries, the EU, the US, and international institutions to reform its banking secrecy laws. Consequently, the government agreed to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The government has renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate the OECD standard, and is considering the possibility of imposing taxes on bank deposits held by foreigners. These steps will have a lasting impact on Switzerland's long history of bank secrecy.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$371.2 billion (2013 est.)
$363.9 billion (2012 est.)
$360.1 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$646.2 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

2% (2013 est.)
1% (2012 est.)
1.8% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$54,800 (2013 est.)
$53,300 (2012 est.)
$50,900 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 0.7%
industry: 26.8%
services: 72.5% (2013 est.)

Labor force

4.976 million (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 3.4%
industry: 23.4%
services: 73.2% (2010)

Unemployment rate (%)

3.2% (2013 est.)
2.9% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line (%)

7.6% (2011)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 7.5%
highest 10%: 19% (2007)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

28.7 (2012 est.)
33.1 (1992)


revenues: $217.8 billion
expenditures: $208.5 billion
note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

33.7% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

1.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

Public debt (% of GDP)

33.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
34.9% of GDP (2012)
note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of SDRs, currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

-0.4% (2013 est.)
-0.7% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

0.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
0.75% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

2.7% (31 December 2013 est.)
2.69% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$525.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$534.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$1.36 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.215 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$1.395 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.247 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$1.079 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$932.2 billion (31 December 2011)
$1.229 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Agriculture - products

grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs


machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance

Industrial production growth rate (%)

2.2% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

$65.6 billion (2013 est.)
$63.82 billion (2012 est.)


$229.2 billion (2013 est.)
$226 billion (2012 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Exports - commodities (%)

machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products

Exports - partners (%)

Germany 18.5%, United States 11.61%, Italy 7.61%, France 6.96%, United Kingdom 5.67% (2013 est.)


$200.5 billion (2013 est.)
$197.9 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles

Imports - partners (%)

Germany 28.19%, Italy 10.46%, France 8.49%, United States 6.08%, China 5.75%, Austria 4.4% (2013 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$536.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$536.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$1.544 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.424 trillion (31 December 2011)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$968.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$955.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$1.432 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.381 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9542 (2013 est.)
0.9374 (2012 est.)
1.0429 (2010 est.)
1.0881 (2009)
1.0774 (2008)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

68.02 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

58.97 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

34.57 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

32.25 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

18.07 million kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

3.1% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

24.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

68% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

5.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

3,613 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

258,200 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

96,710 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

258,200 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

7,585 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

157,600 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

3.2 billion cu m (2012 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

8.494 billion cu m (2012 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

11.77 billion cu m (2012 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

41.84 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

4.382 million (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

10.46 million (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: highly developed telecommunications infrastructure with excellent domestic and international services
domestic: ranked among leading countries for fixed-line teledensity and infrastructure; mobile-cellular subscribership roughly 125 per 100 persons; extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: country code - 41; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

the publicly owned radio and TV broadcaster, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG/SSR), operates 7 national TV networks, 3 broadcasting in German, 2 in Italian, and 2 in French; private commercial TV stations broadcast regionally and locally; TV broadcasts from stations in Germany, Italy, and France are widely available via multi-channel cable and satellite TV services; SRG/SSR operates 18 radio stations that, along with private broadcasters, provide national to local coverage (2009)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

5.301 million (2012)

Internet users

6.152 million (2009)



63 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 40
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 17 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 23
under 914 m: 23 (2013)


2 (2013)

Pipelines (km)

gas 1,800 km; oil 94 km; refined products 7 km (2013)

Railways (km)

total: 4,876 km
standard gauge: 3,846 km 1.435-m gauge (3,591 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,020 km 1.000-m gauge (1,013 km electrified); 10 km 0.800-m gauge (10 km electrified) (2008)

Roadways (km)

total: 71,464 km
paved: 71,464 km (includes 1,415 of expressways) (2011)

Waterways (km)

1,292 km (there are 1,227 km of waterways on lakes and rivers for public transport and another 65 km on the Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee used for the transport of commercial goods) (2010)

Merchant marine

total: 38
by type: bulk carrier 19, cargo 9, chemical tanker 5, container 4, petroleum tanker 1
registered in other countries: 127 (Antigua and Barbuda 7, Bahamas 1, Belize 1, Cayman Islands 1, France 5, Germany 2, Hong Kong 5, Italy 13, Liberia 25, Luxembourg 1, Malta 20, Marshall Islands 12, NZ 2, Panama 15, Portugal 3, Russia 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7, Singapore 3, Spain 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Basel (Rhine)


Military branches

Swiss Armed Forces: Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

19-26 years of age for male compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; every Swiss male has to serve at least 260 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by seven 3-week intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 1,828,043
females age 16-49: 1,786,552 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 1,493,509
females age 16-49: 1,459,450 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 46,562
female: 42,585 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures (% of GDP)

0.76% of GDP (2012)
0.75% of GDP (2011)
0.76% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 13,106 (Eritrea) (2013)
stateless persons: 69 (2012)

Illicit drugs

a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and Western European synthetics; domestic cannabis cultivation and limited ecstasy production

Largest cities of Switzerland

These are the 50 largest cities of Switzerland ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Zurich 346,185
2 Geneva 181,492
3 Basel 164,474
4 Bern 123,018
5 Lausanne 118,015
6 Winterthur 91,368
7 Luzern 57,269
8 Biel 49,675
9 Thun 41,539
10 La Chaux-de-Fonds 36,971
11 Koniz 35,961
12 Schaffhausen 34,445
13 Fribourg 33,806
14 Chur 32,874
15 Neuchatel 31,216
16 Vernier 29,767
17 Uster 29,583
18 Sion 28,246
19 Emmen 27,290
20 Lugano 26,327
21 Kriens 26,117
22 Zug 24,197
23 Yverdon 23,756
24 Montreux 23,703
25 Dubendorf 23,051
26 Frauenfeld 22,639
27 Dietikon 22,443
28 Baar 20,752
29 Meyrin 19,691
30 Carouge 19,688
31 Wadenswil 19,473
32 Wetzikon 19,377
33 Allschwil 18,745
34 Wettingen 18,509
35 Kloten 18,141
36 Horgen 18,055
37 Jona 17,806
38 Renens 17,530
39 Gossau 17,268
40 Wil 17,234
41 Kreuzlingen 17,233
42 Nyon 17,071
43 Bellinzona 17,006
44 Onex 16,796
45 Baden 16,659
46 Muttenz 16,646
47 Pully 16,640
48 Olten 16,555
49 Littau 16,403
50 Thalwil 16,389