Photos of Switzerland



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.



Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Geographic coordinates

47 00 N, 8 00 E


total: 41,277 sq km

land: 39,997 sq km

water: 1,280 sq km

comparison ranking: total 135

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

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


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

327 sq km (2016)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Constance (shared with Germany and Austria) - 540 sq km; Lake Geneva (shared with France) - 580 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rhein (Rhine)  river source (shared with Germany, France, and Netherlands [m]) - 1,233 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

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


8,563,760 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 102


noun: Swiss (singular and plural)

adjective: Swiss

Ethnic groups

Swiss 69.2%, German 4.2%, Italian 3.2%, Portuguese 2.5%, French 2.1%, Kosovan 1.1%, Turkish 1%, other 16.7% (2020 est.)

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


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:


Roman Catholic 34.4%, Protestant 22.5%, other Christian 5.7%, Muslim 5.4%, other 1.5%, none 29.4%, unspecified 1.1% (2020 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.49% (male 683,053/female 643,067)

15-64 years: 65.13% (male 2,800,880/female 2,777,109)

65 years and over: 19.38% (2023 est.) (male 745,501/female 914,150)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 51.6

youth dependency ratio: 22.8

elderly dependency ratio: 28.7

potential support ratio: 3.5 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 42.7 years

male: 41.7 years

female: 43.7 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 33

Population growth rate

0.64% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 132

Birth rate

10.3 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 184

Death rate

8.37 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 76

Net migration rate

4.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 24

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


urban population: 74.2% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.432 million Zurich, 441,000 BERN (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

31.1 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

7 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 154

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.51 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 194

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 83.42 years

male: 81.12 years

female: 85.86 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 11

Total fertility rate

1.58 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 190

Gross reproduction rate

0.77 (2023 est.)

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 (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

11.8% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

4.38 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

4.6 beds/1,000 population (2018)

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 (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

19.5% (2016)

comparison ranking: 112

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 9.41 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.17 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 4.35 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.76 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.12 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 30

Tobacco use

total: 25.5% (2020 est.)

male: 28.1% (2020 est.)

female: 22.9% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 46

Education expenditures

5.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 68


total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years

male: 17 years

female: 17 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 9.1%

male: 9.4%

female: 8.8% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 163


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


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.)


urban population: 74.2% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 151

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 164

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.)

Waste and recycling

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

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 1.938 million tons (2015 est.)

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

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Constance (shared with Germany and Austria) - 540 sq km; Lake Geneva (shared with France) - 580 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rhein (Rhine)  river source (shared with Germany, France, and Netherlands [m]) - 1,233 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

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: 970 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 640 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 160 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

53.5 billion cubic meters (2020 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)

abbreviation: CH

etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Swiss Confederacy that formed in the late 13th century

Government type

federal republic (formally a confederation)


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 (Lucerne), Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais/Wallis, Vaud, Zug, Zuerich

note: the canton names are in the official language(s) of the canton with the exception of Geneve and Luzern, where the conventional names (Geneva and Lucerne) have been added in parentheses; 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


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


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 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 Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2023); Vice President Viola AMHERD (since 1 January 2023); note - the Federal Council, 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 Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2023); Vice President Viola AMHERD (since 1 January 2023)

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 8 December 2022 (next to be held in December 2023)

election results:
2022:  Alain BERSET elected president for 2023; Federal Assembly vote - Alain BERSET (SP) 140 OF 181; Viola AMHERD (The Center) elected vice president; Federal assembly vote - 207 of 223

 Ignazio CASSIS elected president for 2022; Federal Assembly vote - Ignazio CASSIS (FDP.The Liberals) 156 of 197 votes; Alain BERSET (SP) elected vice president; Federal Assembly vote - 158 of 204


Legislative branch

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 two-seat constituencies representing cantons and single-seat constituencies representing half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote except Jura and Neuchatel cantons, which use list 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; 194 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)

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 on 22 October 2023)

election results:
Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - The Center 14, FDP.The Liberals 12, SP 7, Green Party 5, SVP 7, other 1; composition (as of mid-2023) - men 34, women 12, percent of women 26.1%
National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 25.6%, SP 16.8%, FDP.The Liberals 15.1%, Green Party 13.2%, The Center 11.4%, GLP 7.8%, other 4.5%; seats by party - SVP 55, SP 39, FDP.The Liberals 29, Green Party 30, The Center 31, GLP 16; composition (as of mid-2023) - men 116, women 84, percent of women 42.5%; note - overall Federal Assembly percent of women 41.5%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

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) [Balthasar GLATTLI]
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) [Cedric WERMUTH and Mattea MEYER]
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) [Marco CHIESA]
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)
The Liberals or FDP.The Liberals (FDP.Die Liberalen, PLR.Les Liberaux-Radicaux, PLR.I Liberali, Ils Liberals) [Thierry BURKART]

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, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

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

chancery: 2900 Cathedral Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900

FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564

email address and website:

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

consulate(s): Boston

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Scott MILLER (since 11 January 2022) 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:

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

name: 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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 13 (9 cultural, 4 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Old City of Berne (c); Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch (n); Monte San Giorgio (n); Abbey of St Gall (c); Three Castles, Defensive Wall, and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona (c); Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes (c); La Chaux-de-Fonds/Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning (c); Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps (c); Benedictine Convent of St John at Müstair (c); Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces (c)


Economic overview

high-income, non-EU European economy; renowned banking and financial hub; extremely low unemployment; highly skilled but aging workforce; key pharmaceutical and precision manufacturing exporter; fairly high public debt

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$618.228 billion (2021 est.)
$593.185 billion (2020 est.)
$607.619 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 35

Real GDP growth rate

4.22% (2021 est.)
-2.38% (2020 est.)
1.14% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 115

Real GDP per capita

$71,000 (2021 est.)
$68,700 (2020 est.)
$70,900 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 9

GDP (official exchange rate)

$731.502 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.58% (2021 est.)
-0.73% (2020 est.)
0.36% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 205

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AAA (2000)

Moody's rating: Aaa (1982)

Standard & Poors rating: AAA (1988)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 25.6% (2017 est.)

services: 73.7% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: agriculture 206; industry 108; services 54

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


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

Industrial production growth rate

7.91% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 52

Labor force

4.963 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 85

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.3%

industry: 19.8%

services: 76.9% (2015)

Unemployment rate

5.32% (2021 est.)
4.82% (2020 est.)
4.39% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 140

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 9.1%

male: 9.4%

female: 8.8% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 163

Average household expenditures

on food: 9.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 3.6% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 7.5%

highest 10%: 19% (2007)


revenues: $239.767 billion (2018 est.)

expenditures: $230.383 billion (2018 est.)

note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 31

Public debt

20.91% of GDP (2020 est.)
18.95% of GDP (2019 est.)
18.68% of GDP (2018 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, currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the Government Financial Systems Manual 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options

comparison ranking: 188

Taxes and other revenues

9.37% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 198

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$59.159 billion (2021 est.)
$11.067 billion (2020 est.)
$30.806 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 12


$571.376 billion (2021 est.) ; note - data are in current year dollars
$474.236 billion (2020 est.) ; note - data are in current year dollars
$478.505 billion (2019 est.) ; note - data are in current year dollars

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

comparison ranking: 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)


$480.522 billion (2021 est.) ; note - data are in current year dollars
$429.979 billion (2020 est.) ; note - data are in current year dollars
$413.404 billion (2019 est.) ; note - data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 16

Imports - partners

Germany 21%, Italy 8%, France 6%, United States 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

$1.11 trillion (31 December 2021 est.)
$1.083 trillion (31 December 2020 est.)
$854.929 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 3

Debt - external

$1.909 trillion (2019 est.)
$1.931 trillion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 14

Exchange rates

Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.914 (2021 est.)
0.939 (2020 est.)
0.994 (2019 est.)
0.978 (2018 est.)
0.985 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 22.921 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 56.407 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 32.549 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 26.988 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 4.19 billion kWh (2020 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 41; consumption 48; exports 5; imports 5; transmission/distribution losses 53

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 0.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 34.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 3.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 56.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 4.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 4 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 0

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 2.97GW (2023)

Percent of total electricity production: 28.8% (2021)

Percent of total energy produced: 34.2% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 1


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 150,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 139,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 300 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 220,000 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 60,900 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

61,550 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 79

Refined petroleum products - exports

7,345 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 88

Refined petroleum products - imports

165,100 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 39

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 3,616,169,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 3,577,884,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

38.739 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 319,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 31.494 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 6.926 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 66

Energy consumption per capita

137.918 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 38


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,956,500 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 43

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 11,060,700 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 127 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 88

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Switzerland has one of the highest broadband penetration rates within Europe, with a focus on services of at least 1Gb/s; this has been supported by sympathetic regulatory measures as well as by cooperative agreements between the main telcos, and with local utilities; fast fiber is complemented by 5G services reaching about 97% of the population by early 2021; together, these networks will soon enable the telcos to provide ultra-fast broadband services nationally, ahead of most other countries in the region; the competitive mobile market is served by three network operators and a small number of MVNOs; 5G services offered by the MNOs offer data rates of up to 2Gb/s, and although various cantons have called a halt to extensions of 5G, citing health concerns, the regulator and environment ministry have put in place measures aimed at ensuring that network roll outs can continue without disruption; with the migration of subscribers to LTE and 5G networks, the MNOs have been able to begin closing down their GSM networks and repurpose physical assets and spectrum; although not a member of the EU, the country’s economic integration has meant that its telecom market deregulation has followed the EU’s liberalization framework, including the recent regulations on international voice roaming; this report presents an analysis of Switzerland’s fixed-line telecom market, including an assessment of network infrastructure (2021)

domestic: fixed-line is 34 per 100 and mobile-cellular subscribership is 127 per 100 persons (2021)

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

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 )


Internet users

total: 8.352 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 96% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 70

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 4,028,238 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 38


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 (2018) mt-km


63 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 78

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


2 (2021)


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


total: 5,296 km (2020) 5,296 km electrified; Switzerland remains the only country with a fully electrified network

comparison ranking: total 36


total: 71,557 km (2017)

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

comparison ranking: total 66


1,292 km (2010) (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)

comparison ranking: 61

Merchant marine

total: 20

by type: bulk carrier 16, general cargo 1, other 3 (includes Liechtenstein) (2022)

comparison ranking: total 147

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) (2023)

note: the federal police maintain internal security and report to the Federal Department of Justice and Police, while the armed forces report to the Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection, and Sport

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.8% of GDP (2020)
0.7% of GDP (2019)
0.7% of GDP (2018)
0.7% of GDP (2017)

comparison ranking: 147

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Swiss Armed Forces maintain a full-time professional cadre of about 4,000 personnel along with approximately 18-20,000 conscripts brought in annually for 18-23 weeks of training; approximately 120,000 reserve forces (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes a mix of domestically produced and imported weapons systems; in recent years, the US has been the leading supplier of military armaments to Switzerland; the Swiss defense industry produces a range of military land vehicles (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may volunteer; 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 (2023)

note: conscientious objectors can choose 390 days of community service instead of military service

Military deployments

up to 165 Kosovo (NATO/KFOR) (2023)

Military - note

the Swiss military is responsible for territorial defense, limited support to international disaster response and peacekeeping, and providing support to civil authorities when their resources are not sufficient to ward off threats to internal security or provide sufficient relief during disasters; Switzerland has long maintained a policy of military neutrality but does periodically participate in EU, NATO, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and UN military and peacekeeping operations; however, 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 force (KFOR) in 1999 and, as of 2023, continued doing so with up to 165 personnel

the military is led by the Chief of the Armed Forces with an Armed Forces Staff and consists of a Joint Operations Command (JOC), an Armed Forces Logistics Organization, an Armed Forces Command Support Organization, and a Training and Education Command; the JOC controls, among other subordinate commands, the Air Force, the Land Forces, four territorial divisions, the Military Police Command, and the Special Forces Command; it is comprised of conscripts, militia, and a small professional component; the primary combat forces of the Army/Land Forces are three mechanized brigades, plus additional reserve brigades of armor, infantry, and mountain infantry forces; the four territorial divisions link the Army with the cantons; the Air Force is responsible for airspace protection (air sovereignty and air defense, including ground-based air defense), air transport, and airborne intelligence; it has about 50 US-origin multirole fighter aircraft (2023)


Space agency/agencies

Switzerland does not have its own national space agency; it does most of its research and development within the framework of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) activities and programs; the Swiss Space Office, under the State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation (SERI), is the government body responsible for space matters, including implementing national space policy, coordinating space activities, serving as the government point of contact for space industry and scientific institutions, and representation with the ESA and other international partners; the Federal Commission on Space Affairs provides advice and recommendations to the Federal Council on space matters; the Committee on Space Research of the Swiss Academy of Sciences coordinates and stimulates space research in Switzerland (2023)

Space program overview

space program integrated within the ESA framework; manufactures satellites and satellite payloads and products/components for satellite launch vehicles, satellites (particularly remote sensing, navigational, and telecommunications), and ground stations, including electronics, fairings, laser and fiber optics, sensor and nano technologies, scientific instruments, and software; produces atomic clocks (for navigational needs); has a considerable space research effort and has provided scientific instruments for a range of ESA and other space programs; participates in international space programs such as the International Space Station; has relations with a range of foreign space agencies and industries, including those of China, ESA and EU member states, Japan, and the US; the Swiss space industry is spread across approximately 100 businesses, most of which provide niche capabilities and supplies to large space companies (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S


Terrorist group(s)

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): 14,726 (Eritrea), 11,441 (Afghanistan), 8,039 (Syria), (mid-year 2022); 65,815 (Ukraine) (as of 12 September 2023)

stateless persons: 891 (2022)

Illicit drugs

major source of precursor chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics; a significant importer and exporter of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine;