There’s far more to Switzerland than political neutrality and melted cheese. Learn more about this beautiful central European federation.
Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy, west of Austria and Liechtenstein and south of Germany.
Geographic coordinates: 47 00 N, 8 00 E
Area: Total: 41,277 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 136
Land: 39,997 sq km
Water: 1,280 sq km
Land boundaries: 1,852 km
Border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km.
Coastline: 0 km.
Climate: Temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy and snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers.
Terrain: Mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes.
Lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m.
Highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m
Natural resources: Hydro-electric power potential, timber, salt.
People and Society
Noun: Swiss (singular and plural)
Ethnic groups: German 65 percent, French 18 percent, Italian 10 percent, Romansch 1 percent, other 6 percent
Languages: German 63.7 percent, French 20.4 percent, Italian 6.5 percent, Serbo-Croatian 1.5 percent, Albanian 1.3 percent, Portuguese 1.2 percent, Spanish 1.1 percent, English 1 percent, Romansch 0.5 percent, other 2.8 percent.
N.B. German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages.
Religions: Roman Catholic 41.8 percent, Protestant 35.3 percent, Muslim 4.3 percent, Orthodox 1.8 percent, other Christian 0.4 percent, other 1 percent, unspecified 4.3 percent, none 11.1 percent.
Population: 7,655,628 (July 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 96
0-14 years: 15.2 percent (male 602,894/female 560,175)
15-64 years: 67.8 percent (male 2,612,557/female 2,569,318)
65 years and over: 17 percent (male 543,074/female 751,943)
Total: 41.7 years
Male: 40.6 years
Female: 42.8 years
Population growth rate: 0.199 percent (2012 ext.)
Country comparison to the world: 176
Birth rate: 9.51 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 199
Death rate: 8.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 74
Major cities – population: Basel 830,000, Berne (capital) 346,000, Geneva 1.240 million, Lugano 145.000 and Zurich 1.143 million.
Health expenditures: 11.3 percent of GDP
Country comparison to the world: 15
Doctors’ density: 4.07 doctors/1,000 population
Country comparison to the world: 11
Hospital bed density: 5.31 beds/1,000 population
Country comparison to the world: 36
Education expenditures: 5.2 percent of GDP
Country comparison to the world: 53