Photos of Switzerland

Way signs in Murren, a traditional mountain village in Bernese Oberland, unreachable by public road. The village features a view of the three towering mountains: Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. At an elevation of 1,650 m (5,413 ft), access to the village is via four cable cars known as Luftseilbahn-Stechelberg-Murren-Schilthorn (LSMS), which also provide access to the summit of Schilthorn, the location of a rotating restaurant with spectacular views.

Introduction

Background

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 to allow voters to introduce referenda on proposed laws, 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.

 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Geographic coordinates

47 00 N, 8 00 E

Area

total: 41,277 sq km

land: 39,997 sq km

water: 1,280 sq km

country comparison to the world: 135

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

<p>slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey</p>

Land boundaries

total: 1,770 km

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

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/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

Elevation

highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m

mean elevation: 1,350 m

Natural resources

hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use

agricultural land: 38.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 27.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.5% (2018 est.)

other: 29.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

630 sq km (2012)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km), (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km), (Adriatic Sea) Po (76,997 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Rhone (100,543 sq km)

Population distribution

population distribution corresponds to elevation with the northern and western areas far more heavily populated; the higher Alps of the south limit settlement

Natural hazards

avalanches, landslides; flash floods

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

Nationality

noun: Swiss (singular and plural)

adjective: Swiss

Ethnic groups

Swiss 69.3%, German 4.2%, Italian 3.2%, Portuguese 2.5%, French 2.1%, Kosovo 1.1%, Turkish 1%, other 16.6% (2019 est.)

note: data represent permanent and non-permanent resident population by country of birth

Languages

German (or Swiss German) (official) 62.1%, French (official) 22.8%, Italian (official) 8%, English 5.7%, Portuguese 3.5%, Albanian 3.3%, Serbo-Croatian 2.3%, Spanish 2.3%, Romansh (official) 0.5%, other 7.9%; note - German, French, Italian, and Romansh are all national and official languages; shares sum to more than 100% because respondents could indicate more than one main language (2019 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Das World Factbook, die unverzichtbare Quelle für grundlegende Informationen. (German)

The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)

L'Almanacco dei fatti del mondo, l'indispensabile fonte per le informazioni di base. (Italian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

German audio sample:
French audio sample:
Italian audio sample:

Religions

Roman Catholic 34.4%, Protestant 22.5%, other Christian 5.7%, Muslim 5.5%, other 1.6%, none 29.5%, unspecified 0.8% (2019 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.34% (male 664,255/female 625,252)

15-24 years: 10.39% (male 446,196/female 426,708)

25-54 years: 42.05% (male 1,768,245/female 1,765,941)

55-64 years: 13.48% (male 569,717/female 563,482)

65 years and over: 18.73% (male 699,750/female 874,448) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Switzerland. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 51.6

youth dependency ratio: 22.7

elderly dependency ratio: 29

potential support ratio: 3.5 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 42.7 years

male: 41.7 years

female: 43.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

Birth rate

10.41 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Death rate

8.44 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Net migration rate

4.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Population distribution

population distribution corresponds to elevation with the northern and western areas far more heavily populated; the higher Alps of the south limit settlement

Urbanization

urban population: 74% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.79% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.408 million Zurich, 434,000 BERN (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.7 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 171

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.64 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.15 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 194

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 83.03 years

male: 80.71 years

female: 85.49 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

4.3 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

4.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

17,000 (2020)

note: estimate does not include children

country comparison to the world: 89

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<200 (2020)

note: estimate does not include children

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 17 years

female: 16 years (2018)

Environment

Environment - current issues

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from agricultural fertilizers; chemical contaminants and erosion damage the soil and limit productivity; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 10.21 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 34.48 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 4.98 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

Land use

agricultural land: 38.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 10.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 27.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.5% (2018 est.)

other: 29.8% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 74% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.79% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 6.056 million tons (2016 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 1,937,920 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 32% (2015 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km), (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km), (Adriatic Sea) Po (76,997 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Rhone (100,543 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 931 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 642.7 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 160.1 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

53.5 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

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)

abbreviation: CH

etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy that formed in the 14th century

 

Government type

federal republic (formally a confederation)

Capital

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

etymology: origin of the name is uncertain, but may derive from a 2nd century B.C. Celtic place name, possibly "berna" meaning "cleft," that was subsequently adopted by a Roman settlement

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 (Geneva), 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 (instead of two) to the Council of States and, in popular referendums where a majority of popular votes and a majority of cantonal votes are required, these 6 cantons only have a half vote

Independence

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

Constitution

history: previous 1848, 1874; latest adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, effective 1 January 2000

amendments: proposed by the two houses of the Federal Assembly or by petition of at least one hundred thousand voters (called the "federal popular initiative"); passage of proposals requires majority vote in a referendum; following drafting of an amendment by the Assembly, its passage requires approval by majority vote in a referendum and approval by the majority of cantons; amended many times, last in 2018

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state:

President of the Swiss Confederation Guy PARMELIN (since 1 January 2021); Vice President  Ignazio CASSIS (since 1 January 2021); note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate the 1-year term of federal president



head of government: President of the Swiss Confederation Guy PARMELIN (since 1 January 2021; Vice President Ignazio CASSIS (since 1 January 2021)

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

elections/appointments: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among members of the Federal Council for a 1-year, non-consecutive term; election last held on 11 December 2019 (next to be held in December 2020)

election results: Guy PARMELIN elected president; Federal Assembly vote - 192 of 205; Ignazio CASSIS elected vice president; Federal Assembly vote - 162 of 199

Legislative branch

description: description: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblée Fédérale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of:
Council of States or Ständerat (in German), Conseil des États (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 except Jura and Neuchatel cantons which use proportional representation vote; member term governed by cantonal law)
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 6 in half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms) (e.g. 2019)

elections:
Council of States - last held in most cantons on 20 October 2019 (each canton determines when the next election will be held)
National Council - last held on 20 October 2019 (next to be held in 2023) (e.g. 2019)

election results:
Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 13, FDP 12, SDP 9, Green Party 5, other 1; composition - NA
National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 25.6%, SP 16.8%, FDP 15.1%, Green Party 13.2%, CVP 11.4%, GLP 7.8%, other 10.1%; seats by party - SVP 53, SP 39, FDP 29, Green Party 28, CVP 25, GLP 16, other 10; composition - men 116, women 84, percent of women 42% (e.g. 2019)

Judicial branch

highest courts: Federal Supreme Court (consists of 38 justices and 19 deputy justices organized into 7 divisions)

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 (established in 2004); Federal Administrative Court (established in 2007); note - each of Switzerland's 26 cantons has its own courts

Political parties and leaders

Free Democratic Party or FDP.The Liberals (FDP.Die Liberalen, PLR.Les Liberaux-Radicaux, PLR.I Liberali, Ils Liberals) [Petra GOESSI]
Green Liberal Party (Gruenliberale Partei or GLP, Parti vert liberale or PVL, Partito Verde-Liberale or PVL, Partida Verde Liberale or PVL) [Juerg GROSSEN]
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) [Regula RYTZ]
Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SP, 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) [Albert ROESTI]
other minor parties
The Center (Die Mitte, Alleanza del Centro, Le Centre, Allianza dal Center) [Gerhard PFISTER] (merger of the Christian Democratic People's Party and the Conservative Democratic Party)

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

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jacques PITTELOUD (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20007-4105

telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900

FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564

email address and website:
washington@eda.admin.ch

https://www.eda.admin.ch/washington

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, New York, San Francisco

consulate(s): Boston

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Eva Weigold SCHULTZ (since 17 January 2021) note - also accredited to Liechtenstein

embassy: Sulgeneckstrasse 19, CH-3007 Bern

mailing address: 5110 Bern Place, Washington DC  20521-5110

telephone: [41] (031) 357-70-11

FAX: [41] (031) 357-73-20

email address and website:
https://ch.usembassy.gov/

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)

note: in 1863, a newly formed international relief organization convening in Geneva, Switzerland sought to come up with an identifying flag or logo, they chose the inverse of the Swiss flag - a red cross on a white field - as their symbol; today that organization is known throughout the world as the International Red Cross

National symbol(s)

Swiss cross (white cross on red field, arms equal length); national colors: red, white

National anthem

lyrics/music: Leonhard WIDMER [German], Charles CHATELANAT [French], Camillo VALSANGIACOMO [Italian], and Flurin CAMATHIAS [Romansch]/Alberik ZWYSSIG

the Swiss anthem has four names: "Schweizerpsalm" [German] "Cantique Suisse" [French] "Salmo svizzero," [Italian] "Psalm svizzer" [Romansch] (Swiss Psalm) 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

Economic 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 gain access to the Union’s Single Market and enhance the country’s international competitiveness. Some trade protectionism remains, however, 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 economic instability in Russia and other Eastern European economies drove up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safehaven 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 through 2017.

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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$590.71 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$608.16 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$601.65 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 35

Real GDP growth rate

1.11% (2019 est.)

3.04% (2018 est.)

1.65% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

Real GDP per capita

$68,400 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$70,900 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$70,700 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 11

GDP (official exchange rate)

$731.502 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.3% (2019 est.)

0.9% (2018 est.)

0.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AAA (2000)

Moody's rating: Aaa (1982)

Standard & Poors rating: AAA (1988)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 25.6% (2017 est.)

services: 73.7% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 12% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -1.4% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 65.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -54% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, sugar beet, wheat, potatoes, pork, barley, apples, maize, beef, grapes

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.3%

industry: 19.8%

services: 76.9% (2015)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 7.5%

highest 10%: 19% (2007)

Budget

revenues: 242.1 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 234.4 billion (2017 est.)

note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets

Public debt

41.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

41.8% of GDP (2016 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 (Government Financial Systems Manual) 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options

country comparison to the world: 119

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$79.937 billion (2019 est.)

$63.273 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Exports

$470.91 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$478.34 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$482.58 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

country comparison to the world: 15

Exports - partners

Germany 16%, United States 14%, United Kingdom 8%, China 7%, France 6%, India 6%, Italy 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, watches, jewelry (2019)

Imports

$401.91 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$394 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$395.86 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

Imports - partners

Germany 21%, Italy 8%, United States 6%, France 6%, United Kingdom 5%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

gold, packaged medicines, jewelry, cars, medical cultures/vaccines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$811.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$679.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Debt - external

$1,909,446,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,930,819,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Exchange rates

Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -

0.88995 (2020 est.)

0.98835 (2019 est.)

0.99195 (2018 est.)

0.9627 (2014 est.)

0.9152 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Natural gas - proved reserves

NA cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3,102,504

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37.19 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 42

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 10,829,031

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 129.79 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Switzerland emerged as a European leader for 1Gb/s fiber broadband, complemented by 5G to 97% of the population; competitive market buttressed by regulator assurances of 5G-compatible network infrastructure; although not a member of the EU, Switzerland follows the EU's telecom framework and regulations; Zurich is being developed as a smart city (2021) (2020)

domestic: ranked among leading countries for fixed-line teledensity and infrastructure; fixed-line 36 per 100 and mobile-cellular subscribership 127 per 100 persons; extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks (2019)

international: country code - 41; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

the publicly owned radio and TV broadcaster, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG/SSR), operates 8 national TV networks, 3 broadcasting in German, 3 in French, and 2 in Italian; 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 17 radio stations that, along with private broadcasters, provide national to local coverage )

(2019)

Internet users

total: 7,437,820

percent of population: 89.69% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 4,029,445

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48.3 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 179

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 28,857,994 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,841,310,000 mt-km (2018)

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)

Heliports

2 (2013)

Pipelines

1,800 km gas, 94 km oil (of which 60 are inactive), 17 km refined products (2017)

Railways

total: 5,690 km (includes 19 km in neighboring countries) (2015)

standard gauge: 3,836 km 1.435-m gauge (3,634 km electrified) (2015)

narrow gauge: 1,630 km 1.200-m gauge (2 km electrified) (includes 19 km in neighboring countries) (2015)

1188 km 1.000-m gauge (1,167.3 km electrified)
36 km 0.800-m gauge (36.4 km electrified)

country comparison to the world: 34

Roadways

total: 71,557 km (2017)

paved: 71,557 km (includes 1,458 of expressways) (2017)

country comparison to the world: 68

Waterways

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)

country comparison to the world: 57

Merchant marine

total: 28

by type: bulk carrier 21, general cargo 3, oil tanker 1, other 3 (includes Liechtenstein) (2020)

country comparison to the world: 138

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Basel (Rhine)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Swiss Armed Forces: Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) (2021)

Military expenditures

0.8% of GDP (2020 est.)

0.7% of GDP (2019)

0.7% of GDP (2018)

0.7% of GDP (2017)

0.7% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 145

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Swiss Armed Forces maintain a full-time professional cadre of about 4,000 personnel along with approximately 20,000 conscripts brought in annually for 18-23 weeks of training; approximately 120,000 reserve forces (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Swiss Armed Forces inventory includes a mix of domestically-produced and imported weapons systems; the US is the leading supplier of military armaments to Switzerland since 2010; the Swiss defense industry produces a range of military land vehicles (2020)

Military deployments

165 Kosovo (NATO/KFOR) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age generally for male compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; every Swiss male has to serve at least 245 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by six 19-day intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2021)

Military - note

Switzerland has long maintained a policy of military neutrality, but does occasionally participate in EU, NATO, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and UN military operations; Swiss law excludes participation in combat operations for peace enforcement, and Swiss units will only participate in operations under the mandate of the UN or OSCE; Switzerland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1996; it contributed to the NATO-led Kosovo peace-support force (KFOR) in 1999 and as of 2021, continued doing so with about 165 personnel; Switzerland also provided a small number of staff officers to the NATO mission in Afghanistan from 2004-2007

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 37,816 (Eritrea), 19,869 (Syria), 14,523 (Afghanistan), 6,016 (Sri Lanka), 5,447 (Turkey) (2020)

stateless persons: 711 (2020)

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