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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 136/257

total: 41,277 sq km

land: 39,997 sq km

water: 1,280 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries

total: 1,770 km

border countries (5): Austria 158 km, France 525 km, Italy 698 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 348 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


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m

highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

Natural resources

hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use

agricultural land: 38.7%

arable land 10.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 27.9%

forest: 31.5%

other: 29.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

550 sq km (2007)

Total renewable water resources

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%


German (official) 63.5%, French (official) 22.5%, Italian (official) 8.1%, English 4.4%, Portuguese 3.4%, Albanian 3.1%, Serbo-Croatian 2.5%, Spanish 2.2%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 6.6%

note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages; totals more than 100% because some respondents indicated more than one main language (2013 est.)


Roman Catholic 38.2%, Protestant 26.9%, other Christian 5.6%, Muslim 5%, other 1.6%, none 21.4%, unspecified 1.3% (2013 est.)

Population 97/238

8,121,830 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.09% (male 630,944/female 594,465)

15-24 years: 11.29% (male 468,036/female 449,309)

25-54 years: 43.67% (male 1,780,039/female 1,766,820)

55-64 years: 12.18% (male 494,285/female 495,107)

65 years and over: 17.76% (male 631,204/female 811,621) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 48.8%

youth dependency ratio: 22%

elderly dependency ratio: 26.9%

potential support ratio: 3.7% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 42.1 years

male: 41.1 years

female: 43.1 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 147/233

0.71% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 186/224

10.5 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 94/225

8.13 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 27/222

4.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 73.9% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.08% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Zurich 1.246 million; BERN (capital) 358,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

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: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.4 (2012 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 159/184

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 199/224

total: 3.67 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.03 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.29 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 9/224

total population: 82.5 years

male: 80.22 years

female: 84.92 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 188/224

1.55 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 12/191

11.5% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

4.05 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

5 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population


urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 99.8% of population

total: 99.9% of population


urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 0.2% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.35% (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

20,200 (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

300 (2013 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 111/191

21% (2014)

Education expenditures 66/173

5.3% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 16 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 111/134

total: 8.5%

male: 8.8%

female: 8.3% (2013 est.)


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, Berne/Bern, Fribourg/Freiburg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubuenden/Grigioni/Grischun, 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 in 1291; note - since 1 August 1891 celebrated as Swiss National Day


previous 1848, 1874; latest adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, effective 1 January 2000; amended many times, last in 2014 (2015)

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


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Switzerland

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 12 years including at least 3 of the last 5 years prior to application


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President of the Swiss Confederation Johann N. SCHNEIDER-AMMANN (since 1 January 2016); Vice President Doris LEUTARD (since 1 January 2016; note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate in a 1-year term as federal president (chief of state and head of government)

head of government: President of the Swiss Confederation Johann N. SCHNEIDER-AMMANN (since 1 January 2016); Vice President Doris LEUTARD (since 1 January 2016)

cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) indirectly elected usually from among its members by the Federal Assembly for a 4-year term

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the Federal Assembly from among members of the Federal Council for a 1-year, non-consecutive term; election last held on 9 December 2015 (next to be held in early December 2016)

election results: Johann N. SCHNEIDER-AMMANN elected president; Federal Assembly vote - 196 of 208; Doris LEUTHARD elected vice president

Legislative branch

description: 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; members in multi-seat constituencies representing cantons and single-seat constituencies representing half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat - in German, Conseil National - in French, Consiglio Nazionale - in Italian (200 seats; 195 members in cantons directly elected by proportional representation vote and 5 in half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: Council of States - last held in most cantons on 18 October 2015 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held on 18 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019)

election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party (as of 18 October 2015) - Christian Democratic People's Party 13, FDP.The Liberals 13, SDP 12, Swiss People's Party 6, other 2; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 29.4%, SPS 18.8%, FDP 16.4%, CVP 11.6%, Green Party 7.1%, GLP 4.6%, BDP 4.1%, other 8.0%; seats by party - SVP 65, SPS 43, FDP 33, CVP 27, Green Party 11, GLP 7, BDP 7, other 7

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 GOUMAZ and Regula RYTZ]

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]

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), ICCt, 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, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

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 colors: red, white

National anthem

the Swiss anthem has four names: "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, officially 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, a country that espouses neutrality, is a 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 Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled demand for Swiss exports and put Switzerland into a recession. During this period, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy, as well as to prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010.

The sovereign debt crises unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries, however, coupled with ongoing economic instability in Russia and other eastern European economies continue to pose a significant risk to the Swiss economy, driving up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safe-haven currency. In January 2015, the SNB abandoned the Swiss franc’s peg to the Euro, roiling global currency markets and making active SNB intervention a necessary hallmark of present-day Swiss monetary policy. 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 from 2011-15.

In recent years, Switzerland has responded to increasing pressure from neighboring countries and trading partners to reform its banking secrecy laws, by agreeing to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The Swiss government has also renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate OECD standards, and is openly considering the possibility of imposing taxes on bank deposits held by foreigners.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 40/230

$482.7 billion (2015 est.)

$478 billion (2014 est.)

$469.2 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$677 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 174/225

1% (2015 est.)

1.9% (2014 est.)

1.8% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 16/230

$59,300 (2015 est.)

$58,700 (2014 est.)

$57,600 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 15/179

31% of GDP (2015 est.)

31% of GDP (2014 est.)

33.7% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 54.4%

government consumption: 11.1%

investment in fixed capital: 24%

investment in inventories: -1.1%

exports of goods and services: 56.2%

imports of goods and services: -44.6%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.8%

industry: 26.7%

services: 72.6% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs


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

Industrial production growth rate 107/202

2.2% (2015 est.)

Labor force 81/233

5.097 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.4%

industry: 23.4%

services: 73.2% (2010)

Unemployment rate 27/207

3.3% (2015 est.)

3.2% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

7.6% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 7.5%

highest 10%: 19% (2007)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 126/144

28.7 (2012 est.)

33.1 (1992)


revenues: $221.9 billion

expenditures: $220.8 billion

note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 75/219

32.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 23/220

0.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 128/176

34% of GDP (2015 est.)

34.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

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 Special Drawing Rights (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

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 5/226

-1.1% (2015 est.)

0% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 127/156

0.5% (31 December 2010)

0.75% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 173/184

2.6% (31 December 2015 est.)

2.69% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 11/192

$519.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$514.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 14/193

$1.347 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.301 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 16/191

$1.197 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.138 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 14/121

$1.079 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

$932.2 billion (31 December 2011)

$1.229 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 10/197

$48.8 billion (2015 est.)

$51.2 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 20/224

$270.6 billion (2015 est.)

$327.6 billion (2014 est.)

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

Exports - commodities

machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products

Exports - partners

Germany 18.3%, US 13%, France 7.3%, Italy 6.6%, UK 5%, China 4.1% (2014)

Imports 20/223

$214.8 billion (2015 est.)

$272.6 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

Germany 28%, Italy 9.7%, France 8.1%, US 6.6%, China 6.5%, Austria 4.7% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 5/170

$545.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$535.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Debt - external 12/206

$1.533 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.601 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 8/120

$1.136 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.107 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 7/105

$1.487 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.464 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -

0.94 (2015 est.)

0.92 (2014 est.)

0.92 (2013 est.)

0.94 (2012 est.)

0.89 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 43/220

64.81 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 44/219

58.01 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 6/218

32.27 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 7/219

29.87 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 39/214

20.31 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 206/214

2.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 12/214

16.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 26/214

67.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 61/212

4.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 195/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 193/214

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 46/214

101,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 195/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 72/214

105,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 52/212

238,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 86/214

10,450 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 35/213

157,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production 88/216

20 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 67/215

3.281 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 188/215

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 39/214

3.261 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

NA cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 66/212

42.97 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 38/219

total subscriptions: 4.37 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 54 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 79/217

total: 11.5 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 142 (2014 est.)

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 3, FM 106 (plus many low-power stations), shortwave 3 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

106 (2007)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 20/232

5.301 million (2012)

Internet users 54/217

total: 7.1 million

percent of population: 88.0% (2014 est.)


Airports 78/236

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)


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

Railways 37/136

total: 5,651.5 km

standard gauge: 4,424.8 km 1.435-m gauge (3,634.1 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 2 km 1.200-m gauge (2 km electrified); 1,188.3 km 1.000-m gauge (1,167.3 km electrified); 36.4 km 0.800-m gauge (36.4 km electrified) (2014)

Roadways 65/223

total: 71,464 km

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

Waterways 57/107

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

Merchant marine 76/156

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 and Security

Military branches

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

Military service age and obligation

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)

Military expenditures 117/132

0.64% of GDP (2014)

0.69% of GDP (2013)

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): 16,091 (Eritrea); 5,161 (Syria) (2014)

stateless persons: 76 (2014)

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