Form of Government: Federal republic
Area: 41 291 sq km
Population: 8 542 323 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 206.88 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 48° - 46° N; long. 6° - 10° E
Capital: Bern/Berne (capital) 133 791 inhab. (2018); Bern 418 200 inhab. (2017), urban agglomeration
Currency: Swiss franc (100 centimes)
Human development index: 0.944 (rank: 2)
President of the Confederation: Ueli Maurer (SVP), since 1 January 2019
National Council: seats (July 2019 update): SVP/UDC (Swiss People's Party/Democratic Union of the Centre, populist, right-wing), 68; SP (Social Democratic Party), 42; FDP (The Liberals), 33; CVP (Christian Democratic People’s Party), 29; Greens, 12; GLP (Green Liberal Party), 9; BDP (Conservative Democratic Party),7
Internet: www.bfs.admin.ch (Ufficio federale di Statistica)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EFTA, 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

Despite the European Commission’s repeated ultimatum, the implementation of a comprehensive treaty between Switzerland and the EU remained unresolved, which would supersede the 120 industry agreements in effect at the moment. While Brussels threatens to deny the entry of Swiss capital into European financial markets, Bern highlights its concerns about the harmonization of salaries, the rights of EU citizens in the country and aid from the state. Ahead of the elections on 20 October 2019, political tensions are not encouraging for an agreement. Meanwhile, on 19 May 2019, a referendum on fiscal and pension reform was approved to reduce the taxation favourable to international corporations in the country. Lastly, on 6 May 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with China regarding the Belt and Road Initiative.

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 GDP2017
Military personnel20 950units2017
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes9 336.6per 100 000 pop.2012
Homicides0.6per 100 000 pop.2018
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Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Zürich415 215inhab.2018
Geneva=Genève201 741inhab.2018
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Zürich1 369 000inhab.2017
Geneva592 100inhab.2017
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Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2018)
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). An increasing number of Swiss citizens live abroad.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate102018
Death rate7.82018
Foreigners
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Foreigners, total2 147 006units2018
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Swiss70.3%2017
other16.7%2017


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Catholic36.1%2017
nonreligious/atheist26%2017


Languages
DESCRIPTION
French (official)
German (official)
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years15.2%2018
15-29 years17.1%2018


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Economy


Economic situation.
After +2.5% in 2018, economic growth was revised down to 1% for 2019. However, tax revenue results were excellent in 2018.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)101.49index2016
Balance of trade31 521.1M US$2018
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population4 906 600units2018
Active population, Females46.7%2018
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate4.7%2018
Unemployment rate, Females50.6%2018
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses75 776.9M LCU2018
Revenues79 413.8M LCU2018
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture3%2018
industry20%2018
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture0.7%2018
industry25.8%2018
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation593.1BN LCU2016
International reserves787 021.3M US$2018
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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 land10.72%2015
forests31.74%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley207.3741000 t2017
cereals, total976.6141000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes458.91000 t2017
roots and tubers, total458.91000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes01000 t2017
asparagus0.7221000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, green11.0761000 t2017
broad beans, dry3.0241000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes100.3641000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed77.6121000 t2017
soybeans5.6421000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0191000 t2017
sugar beet1 544.7811000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Flax
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
linseed0.4041000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples225.6221000 t2017
apricots9.421000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts2.5281000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms7.5031000 t2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley28.4551000 ha2017
maize15.1921000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes11.2761000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes0.0041000 ha2017
cabbages1.1371000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, green1.2161000 ha2017
broad beans, dry1.0391000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape14.7481000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed20.4191000 ha2017
soybeans1.6951000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0191000 ha2017
sugar beet19.1351000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Flax
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
linseed0.161000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples3.8061000 ha2017
apricots0.7361000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts1.721000 ha2017
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber4 640 0752017
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle1 544.6121000 heads2017
cattle and buffaloes1 544.6121000 heads2017
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs1 444.5911000 heads2017
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep342.4191000 heads2017
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats78.1461000 heads2017
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses19.9721000 heads2017
asses and mules20.6741000 heads2017
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds11 4931000 heads2017
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey2.4191000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter48.4361000 t2014
cheese206.3361000 t2014
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs11t2017
freshwater fishes1 220t2017
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Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
Salt is mined at Bex (Vaud) and Rheinfelden, Schweizerhalle and Ryburg.
Energy and industry.
Almost 60% of the power produced comes from hydroelectric sources. The rest comes largely from the nuclear power stations at Mühleberg, Gösgen, Beznau (I e II) and Leibstadt; in 2017, a referendum ratified the gradual abandonment of nuclear power in favour of renewable resources. 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: there are important mills at Derendingen, Bürglen and Schaffhausen. Lace making is an important, high quality craft. At Emmenbrücke, Widnau-Heerbrugg, Rorschach, Steckborn, and Ems there are artificial and synthetic fibre factories. Paper mills are concentrated in the Jura, in the Alps and in the Oberland. The rubber industry produces insulation materials and tyres. At Langenthal ceramics are produced.

Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
gypsum3301000 t2016
salt4581000 t2016
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- hydro34 281M kWh2016
- nuclear20 303M kWh2016
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- hydro12 2171000 kW2016
- nuclear3 3331000 kW2016
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation59 009.58M kWh2016
total installed capacity20 8391000 kW2016
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
aluminium1401000 t2016
gold, metal2 780 000kg2016
Industry - Precision and optical instruments
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
watches and clocks23 700 000no.2018
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
petrol1 660.51000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia301000 t2016
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley343.21000 t2014
groundnut oil1.21000 t2014
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cigarettes54 348M units2007
cigars and cigarettes54 348M units2007
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemi-mechanical pulp111.0971000 t2017
mechanical pulp111.0971000 t2017
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement4 5801000 t2016
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production33 107M US$2016
food, beverages and tobacco production11 160.7M US$2016
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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. Over 300 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. UBS was fined 3.7 billion euro by France in 2019 for its involvement in cases of tax evasion.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
manufactures91.431% of goods exports2018
food products3.839% of goods exports2018
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Germany47 447M US$2018
United States40 959M US$2018
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Germany57 789M US$2018
United Kingdom26 549M US$2018
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2018310 809M US$ -
2017299 559M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2018279 288M US$ -
2017269 796M US$ -
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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).

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures19 494M US$2017
Number of arrivals9 889 000units2017
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Communications


Transport.
The country is at a juncture of important European highways and railways and is committed to strengthening its rail lines 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 carried26 737.51000 units2017
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers454.223per 1000 pop.2017
Computers962.4per 1000 pop.2008
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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 schooling16.2years2016
Gradautes, percentage42.6%2017
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Teachers, primary level49 167units2016
Teachers, secondary level62 387units2016
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending38.7% of total expenses2016
Social protection spending28.1% of GDP2016
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds4.5per 1000 pop.2017
Physicians4.25per 1000 pop.2016
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV0.3% of adults2013
HIV, total0.3%2001
Museums
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Museums1 111units2017
Museums, visitors13 498 399units2017
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending3.37% of GDP2015
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking100%2016
Access to electricity100%2017
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear4%2016
food, non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco13.9%2016
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