Form of Government: Federal republic
Area: 41 291 sq km
Population: 8 667 088 inhab. (estimate 2020)
Density: 209.9 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 48° - 46° N; long. 6° - 10° E
Capital: Bern/Berne (capital) 134 727 inhab. (2020); Bern 422 100 inhab. (2019), urban agglomeration
Currency: Swiss franc (100 centimes)
Human development index: 0.955 (rank: 2)
President of the Confederation: Guy Parmelin (SVP/UDC), since 1 January 2021
National Council: seats (August 2021 update): SVP/UDC (Swiss People's Party/Democratic Union of the Centre, populist, right-wing), 55; SP (Social Democratic Party), 39; CVP (Christian Democratic People’s Party), 31; Green Party, 29; FDP (The Liberals), 29; GLP (Green Liberal Party), 16, vacant, 1
Internet: www.bfs.admin.ch (Ufficio federale di Statistica)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO

Switzerland

Useful information

International license plate code CH
International dialling code 0041
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .ch

GMT  +1
DST  +2
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October

Annual average temperature (°C) Bern 8.5
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Bern -1/18
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Bern 7/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Bern 1035
Days of rainfall (annual average) Bern 129

Politics and current affairs

Talks resumed to renew bilateral agreements with the EU after the veto of the “For Moderate Immigration” referendum (61.7% voted no) on 27 September 2020, which would have restricted the free movement of EU citizens in Switzerland. On 26 May 2021, Switzerland left the negotiations when the EU refused to guarantee the exemptions requested by the country on certain points (for example, state aid). Without further concessions by the EU, for the Swiss government the agreements would have been vetoed by a referendum. On 18 March 2020, the parliament approved a law legalizing same-sex marriages. A referendum has been called for this law (26 September 2021).

Geography.
Switzerland is bordered to the north by Germany, to the east by Austria and Liechtenstein, to the south by Italy and to the west by France.
The country is mostly mountainous. There are three large regions: the Alps, the so-called Swiss Plateau and the Jura. The Alpine section covers almost 60% of the land area and is crossed by the upper reaches of the River Rhone and the River Rhine, that the Aar, the Reuss and the Inn flow into. The River Ticino flows south into Italy. In the Pennine Alps, to the south of the Rhone, lie the massifs of Mount Rosa (4635 m), the Weisshorn and the Matterhorn; to the south of the Rhine lie the Lepontine Alps (Rheinwaldhorn, 3402 m). To the east of the Splügen Pass lie the Alps of the Graubünden (the Rhaetian Alps) with Piz Bernina (4050 m). To the north of the Rhone and the Rhine there are the Bernese Alps, with the peaks of Finsteraarhorn (4274 m) and Jungfrau. The central plateau stretches for 150 km between Lake Constance and Lake Geneva. To the northwest the land suddenly rises again in the Jura.

Government


Switzerland (the Swiss Confederation or Confoederatio Helvetica) is a federal republic consisting of 26 states, which are known as Cantons, (apart from the half-cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft which together form the canton of Basel, the half-cantons of Ausserrhoden and Innerrhoden which together form Appenzell, and the half-cantons of Obwalden and Nidwalden, forming Unterwalden), whereas the traditional division was into 23 cantons. Each state has its own assembly (Great Council) and government (State Council). According to the Constitution of 29 May 1874, which has been modified many times, legislative power resides in the Federal Assembly, which consists of the National Council (200 members elected for a four-year term by direct suffrage) and the State Council (46 members, each canton elects two representatives, each semi-canton one representative). The Federal assembly elects the Federal Council, which has seven members responsible for government activities. From these the President of the Confederation, who has mostly representative powers, is elected every year. Constitutional reforms approved by the 1999 referendum have added fundamental citizens’ rights (such as the right to strike) to the text of the 1874 Constitution. On 9 February 2014, a change to the Constitution was approved in a referendum to limit the number of foreigners in the country.


Defence.
Switzerland is a neutral country and is not a member of any international defence organizations. Since 2001, however, the armed forces have been permitted to take part in UN peace keeping missions: the first time this happened was in 2002 when a contingent of Swiss troops was sent to Kosovo. Military service is compulsory and there are several different phases of this: 18-21 weeks of training for recruits, followed by brief refresher courses up until the age of 30.


Justice.
The legal system is based on the continental one, with some common law elements. Referendums are frequently used as direct democratic tools to consult the population on federal and canton issues.

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Military expenditure0.7% of GDP2019
Military personnel19 550units2019
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes9 336.6per 100 000 pop.2012
Homicides0.5per 100 000 pop.2020
TOP

Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Zürich421 712inhab.2020
Geneva=Genève203 736inhab.2020
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Zürich1 401 800inhab.2019
Geneva603 200inhab.2019
TOP

Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2020)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

There are over 2 million foreign residents, mainly from European countries (Italians make up the most sizeable group), also on the rise in 2020.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate9.92020
Death rate8.82020
Foreigners
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Foreigners, total2 209 100units2020
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Swiss69.9%2019
other17.2%2019


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Catholic34.5%2019
nonreligious/atheist29.5%2019


Languages
DESCRIPTION
French (official)
German (official)
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years15.4%2020
15-29 years16.6%2020


TOP

Economy


Economic situation.
The pandemic caused a 3% contraction in GDP in 2020. A recovery is expected in 2021 (+3.5%). Unemployment remains stable (below 5%).

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)101.49index2016
Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)97.13index2019
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population4 933 800units2020
Active population, Females46.8%2020
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate4.8%2020
Unemployment rate, Females48.3%2020
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses79 807.8M LCU2020
Revenues69 752.6M LCU2020
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture2.521%2020
industry19.872%2020
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture0.724%2020
industry25.276%2020
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation670.2BN LCU2018
International reserves1 083 404.342M US$2020
TOP

Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture and forests.
Agriculture is organized on a family basis with some support from the state.
The main crops are cereals, sugar beet and potatoes. Almost a third of the land is covered by forest, from which a large amount of timber is harvested.
Livestock.
Livestock farming is very important, especially cattle. More than for meat, cattle are raised for their milk, which is made into butter, cheese, condensed milk and milk powder and also used in chocolate making.

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land10.787%2018
forests32.16%2018
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley190.1671000 t2019
cereals, total932.5281000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes414.3371000 t2019
roots and tubers, total414.3371000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes0.0041000 t2019
asparagus0.6661000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, green8.471000 t2019
broad beans, dry3.1631000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes124.0611000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed67.8431000 t2019
soybeans5.351000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0341000 t2019
sugar beet1 454.5361000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Flax
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
linseed0.3351000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples189.7261000 t2019
apricots9.0171000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts2.4091000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms7.3611000 t2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley27.1781000 ha2019
maize16.0151000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes10.9811000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes0.0061000 ha2019
cabbages1.0591000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, green1.1321000 ha2019
broad beans, dry1.0021000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape14.7041000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed22.6971000 ha2019
soybeans1.7211000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0211000 ha2019
sugar beet17.5551000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Flax
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
linseed0.1571000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples3.7361000 ha2019
apricots0.7421000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts1.661000 ha2019
TOP

Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber4 328 6592019
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle1 524.821000 heads2019
cattle and buffaloes1 524.821000 heads2019
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs1 359.6841000 heads2019
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep343.5811000 heads2019
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats80.4691000 heads2019
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses33.6141000 heads2019
asses and mules34.3851000 heads2019
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds11 9111000 heads2019
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey2.3571000 t2019
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter44.2651000 t2018
cheese211.031000 t2018
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs40.8t2019
freshwater fishes1 263.872t2019
TOP

Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
Salt is mainly extracted from the mines of Bex (Vaud).
Energy & industry.
About half of the power produced comes from hydroelectric sources. The rest comes largely from the Beznau (1 and 2), Gösgen and Leibstadt nuclear power stations. In 2017, a referendum ratified the gradual abandonment of nuclear power; the first reactor in Mühleberg was shut down in 2019. The country is crossed by the Transitgas pipeline, which connects Italy to Northern Europe.
Despite the scarcity of raw materials, Switzerland is a highly industrialized country. This can be seen in particular in the machinery sector: precision instruments are especially important, as is electrical machinery. Swiss watch-making is famous worldwide, and the main centres of this are at Geneva, Schaffhausen and especially in the Jura. Aluminium is the most important product of the electro-metallurgical industry (plants at Chippis, Steg and Martigny in the Valais, working with imported alumina).
The chemical and pharmaceutical industries have their headquarters at Basel; electrochemical plants are present in the Valais. For textiles, cotton manufacture is especially important (eastern Switzerland); silk processing plants are found in the cantons of Zürich and Basel.
The woollen industry is also widespread; lace making is still an important, high quality craft. There are artificial and synthetic fibre factories, paper mills and rubber processing plants (insulation materials and tyres). Ceramics are produced at Langenthal.

Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
gypsum4601000 t2019
salt5901000 t2017
TOP

Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- hydro37 659.6M kWh2019
- nuclear25 370M kWh2019
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- hydro4 1931000 kW2019
- other renew.3 0511000 kW2019
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation68 186.31M kWh2019
total installed capacity22 059.691000 kW2018
TOP

Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
aluminium1401000 t2016
gold, metal2 780 000kg2016
Industry - Precision and optical instruments
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
watches and clocks13 800 000no.2020
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
petrol1 660.51000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia14$1000 t2019
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley360.31000 t2018
groundnut oil1.1511000 t2018
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cigarettes54 348M units2007
cigars and cigarettes54 348M units2007
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mechanical pulp91.4981000 t2019
newsprint381.2541000 t2019
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement4 3001000 t2018
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production34 761.312M US$2016
food, beverages and tobacco production12 661.258M US$2018
TOP

Trade


Main exports (M US$ - 2017) pharmaceuticals 70 282, gold 67 923, machinery 23 730, chemicals 21 736, watches 20 234, jewels and precious stones 16 387, technical and electro-medical appliances 16 059, electrical and electronic equipment 12 238, plastics 5 098, iron and steel 4 230, perfumes and cosmetics 3 290, works of art and antiques 2 504, vehicles and parts thereof 2 430, aluminium 2 313, coffee 2 250, beverages 1 995, apparel and accessories 1 963, aircraft and parts thereof 1 952, dyes 1 939, tools and implements 1 850, electric energy 1 487, paper 1 167


Finance and banking.
The Swiss National Bank, which is independent of the federal government, acts as the central bank. The Swiss banking system is one of the most advanced in the world. Swiss banks control a substantial share of the world market of overseas-managed assets. About 250 banks and financial institutions operate in Switzerland (the two largest ones are Credit Suisse and UBS). Zürich is home to the country’s largest stock exchange. Due to international pressure, Switzerland has made agreements with numerous other countries to tax non-residents. Since 2018, the automatic exchange of banking information has entered into force with EU member states and other countries. In response to the economic crisis, in 2020 the watchdog authorities demanded moderation from the main banking groups in the distribution of dividends.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
manufactures73.772% of goods exports2019
food products2.995% of goods exports2019
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
United States73 109M US$2020
Germany48 936M US$2020
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Germany56 596M US$2020
Italy23 666M US$2020
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2020319 232M US$ -
2019313 934M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2020291 442M US$ -
2019277 830M US$ -
TOP

Tourism


Tourism. Tourism is encouraged by the excellent hotel sector and the variety of accommodation on offer; ski resorts, lakeside towns (Interlaken, Lucerne, Locarno), conference and business centres (at Lugano, Zürich and Geneva). In 2020-21, the sector was severely affected by travel restrictions.

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures20 497M US$2019
Number of arrivals11 818 000units2019
TOP

Communications


Transport.
The country is at a juncture of important European highways and railways. Policies are in place to favour the reduction of cargo traffic on the road. In 2016, the San Gottardo tunnel (57 km) was opened, a strategically important endeavour for transporting goods by rail along the “Rotterdam-Genoa” corridor in Europe.

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown171 900 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried30 339.71000 units2019
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers469.011per 1000 pop.2019
Computers962.4per 1000 pop.2008
TOP

Social and welfare


Education and research.
In most of the cantons, education is mandatory from the age of 4-5 for 11 years, and it is divided into primary and higher levels. Education is organized by each individual Canton.


Social security and health.
There are compulsory insurance programmes for all employees. There is no national health system, but all citizens must have (private) insurance.

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling16.413years2018
Gradautes, percentage44.413%2019
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Students, primary level514 664units2018
Students, secondary level608 878units2018
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending39.41% of total expenses2019
Social protection spending26.9% of GDP2019
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds4.63per 1000 pop.2018
Physicians4.34per 1000 pop.2018
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV0.2% of adults2019
HIV, total0.3%2001
Museums
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Museums1 118units2018
Museums, visitors13 253 486units2018
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending3.18% of GDP2017
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking100%2019
Access to electricity100%2019
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear2.5%2018
education1$%2018
TOP