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 Introduction
 Geography
 People
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 Economy
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This page was last updated on 29 June, 2006


Map of Switzerland



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Switzerland Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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. 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.
   Geography    Switzerland Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
47 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Europe
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 41,290 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
water: 1,520 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
hydropower potential, timber, salt
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 9.91%
permanent crops: 0.58%
other: 89.51% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
250 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
avalanches, landslides, flash floods
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps
   People    Switzerland Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,523,934 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 16.3% (male 637,585/female 591,297)
15-64 years: 68.1% (male 2,585,062/female 2,539,345)
65 years and over: 15.6% (male 480,198/female 690,447) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 40.1 years
male: 39 years
female: 41.1 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.43% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.71 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.49 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
3.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4.34 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.81 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 80.51 years
male: 77.69 years
female: 83.48 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.43 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.4% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Orthodox 1.8%, other Christian 0.4%, Muslim 4.3%, other 1%, unspecified 4.3%, none 11.1% (2000 census)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, Italian (official) 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2%, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansch 0.5%, other 2.8% (2000 census)
note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national languages, but only the first three are official languages
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
   Government    Switzerland Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
local short form: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian)
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
formally a confederation, but similar in structure to a federal republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Bern
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular - kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
revision of Constitution of 1874 approved by the Federal Parliament 18 December 1998, adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, officially entered into force 1 January 2000
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
civil law system influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory character; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Moritz LEUENBERGER (since 8 January 2006); Vice President Micheline CALMY-REY (since 8 January 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Moritz LEUENBERGER (since 8 January 2006); Vice President Micheline CALMY-REY (since 8 January 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) elected by the Federal Assembly usually from among its own 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 one-year terms that run concurrently; election last held 7 December 2005 (next to be held December 2006)
election results: Moritz LUENBERGER elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - NA; Micheline CALMY-REY elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - NA
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblee Federale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of the Council of States or Standerat (in German), Conseil des Etats (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats - consists of two representatives from each canton and one 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 are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held in most cantons 19 October 2003 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held 19 October 2003 (next to be held October 2007)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CVP 15, FDP 14, SVP 8, SPS 6, other 3; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 26.6%, SPS 23.3%, FDP 17.3%, CVP 14.4%, Greens 7.4%, other small parties all under 5%; seats by party - SVP 55, SPS 54, FDP 36, CVP 28, Green Party 13, other small parties 14
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Federal Supreme Court (judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Green Party (Grune Partei der Schweiz or Grune, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Ruth GENNER]; Christian Democratic People's Party (Christichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Democratico-Cristiano Popolare Svizzero or PDC, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Doris LEUTHARD, president]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Marianne KLEINER-SCHLAEPFER, president]; Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialist Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Hans-Juerg FEHR, president]; Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica de Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Ueli MAURER, president]; and other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Urs ZISWILER
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
consulate(s): Boston
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela P. WILLEFORD
embassy: Jubilaumsstrasse 93, CH-3005 Bern
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (031) 357 70 11
FAX: [41] (031) 357 73 44
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag
   Economy    Switzerland Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Switzerland is a peaceful, prosperous, and stable modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP larger than that of the big Western European economies. The Swiss in recent years have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness. Switzerland remains a safehaven for investors, because it has maintained a degree of bank secrecy and has kept up the franc's long-term external value. Reflecting the anemic economic conditions of Europe, GDP growth dropped in 2001 to about 0.8%, to 0.2% in 2002, and to -0.3% in 2003, with a small rise to 1.8% in 2004-05. Even so, unemployment has remained at less than half the EU average.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$241.8 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$367 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$32,300 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 1.5%
industry: 34%
services: 64.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.8 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 4.6%
industry: 26.3%
services: 69.1% (1998)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.8% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 25.2% (1992)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
33.1 (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.2% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.2% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $138.1 billion
expenditures: $143.6 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
53.3% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.9% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
63.4 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
55.86 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
33.2 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
30.1 billion kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,950 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
258,900 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10,420 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
289,500 bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.209 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.093 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$49.66 billion (2005 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$148.6 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 20.2%, US 10.5%, France 8.7%, Italy 8.3%, UK 5.1%, Spain 4% (2004)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$135 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 32.8%, Italy 11.3%, France 9.9%, US 5.2%, Netherlands 5%, Austria 4.3% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$74.62 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$856 billion (30 June 2005)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $1.1 billion (1995)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Swiss franc (CHF)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.2452 (2005), 1.2435 (2004), 1.3467 (2003), 1.5586 (2002), 1.6876 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Switzerland Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,262,600 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.275 million (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: excellent domestic and international services
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: country code - 41; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 4, FM 113 (plus many low power stations), shortwave 2 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
115 (plus 1,919 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.ch
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,823,012 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,944,438 (2005)
   Transportation    Switzerland Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
65 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 42
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 16 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 23
under 914 m: 23 (2005)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
2 (2005)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 1,831 km; oil 94 km; refined products 7 km (2004)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4,527 km
standard gauge: 3,232 km 1.435-m gauge (3,211 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,285 km 1.000-m gauge (1,273 km electrified); 10 km 0.800-m gauge (10 km electrified) (2004)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 71,220 km
paved: 71,220 km (including 1,726 of expressways) (2003)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
65 km (Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee) (2003)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 25 ships (1000 GRT or over) 468,821 GRT/778,115 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 9, chemical tanker 2, container 4, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Monaco 2)
registered in other countries: 306 (Antigua and Barbuda 4, The Bahamas 7, Belize 2, Bermuda 1, Cyprus 6, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 1, Germany 1, Indonesia 2, Ireland 1, Italy 7, Liberia 7, Malta 21, Marshall Islands 11, Mauritius 2, Morocco 1, Panama 206, Portugal 3, Russia 8, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 10, Tonga 1, Turkey 1, Vanuatu 2) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Basel
   Military    Switzerland Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
the Swiss Constitution states that "every Swiss male is obliged to do military service"; every Swiss male has to serve for at least 260 days in the armed forces; 19 years of age for compulsory military service; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscripts receive 15 weeks of compulsory training, followed by 10 intermittent recalls for training over the next 22 years; women are accepted on a voluntary basis but are not drafted (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 19-49: 1,707,694
females age 19-49: 1,662,099 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 19-49: 1,375,889
females age 19-49: 1,342,945 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 46,319
females age 19-49: 43,829 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.548 billion (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1% (FY01)
   Transnational Issues    Switzerland Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
none
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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 and Southwest Asian heroin

This page was last updated on 29 June, 2006


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