Country Summary



The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two World Wars.



total: 41,277 sq km
land: 39,997 sq km
water: 1,280 sq km


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

Natural resources

hydropower potential, timber, salt

People and Society


8,563,760 (2023 est.)

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.)


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.)


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.)

Population growth rate

0.64% (2023 est.)


Government type

federal republic (formally a confederation)


name: Bern

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)

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)


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.)

Real GDP per capita

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

Agricultural products

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


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


0.38% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.4% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.35% of GDP (2019 est.)


$571.376 billion (2021 est.)
$474.236 billion (2020 est.)
$478.505 billion (2019 est.)

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.)
$429.979 billion (2020 est.)
$413.404 billion (2019 est.)

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)

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.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2023