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Countries of the World: Switzerland
Resources about Switzerland including maps, facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, and economy.

Economy of Switzerland GDP (2009): $494.6 billion (519.2 billion Swiss francs [SFr]). Government expenses (in GDP%, 2008): 38.3% (federal, cantonal, and local). Annual growth rate (2009): -1.9%. Unemployment (October 2010): 3.6%. Per capita income (2009 est.): $63,519. Avg. inflation rate: -0.3% (2009); 1.4% (2010 est.). Natural resources: Water power, timber, salt. Agriculture (1% of GDP): Products--dairy (24%), livestock (26%), grains (4%), fruit and vegetables, potatoes, wine (15%). Arable land (1999): 26%. Industry (est. 29% of GDP): Types--machinery, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, time pieces, precision instruments, textiles and clothing, pigment, transportation equipment. Services (70% of GDP). Trade: Merchandise exports (2009)--$173 billion (official exchange rate): food, beverages, and tobacco (3%; +24%); metal and chemical industries (42%; +12%); precision instruments (7%; +8%); watches (8%; +16%); machinery and electronics (21%; +11%); clothing 1.1%; +4%). Major markets- -EU, United States, Canada, CIS, India, Brazil, Japan. Merchandise imports (2009)--$156 billion (official exchange rate): consumer goods (38%); equipment (19%); energy (7.1%); raw materials (28%). Major suppliers--EU, U.S., Canada, CIS, South Africa. Exchange rate (November 2010): $1 U.S. = 0.9833 CHF or SFr.

Geography of Switzerland Area: 41,285 sq. km. (15,941 sq. mi.); about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. Cities: Capital--Bern (population about 123,000). Other cities--Zurich (359,000), Geneva (180,000), Basel (164,000), Lausanne (119,000). Terrain: 40% mountains, the remainder hills and plateau. Switzerland straddles the central ranges of the Alps. Climate: Temperate, varying with altitude and season.

Government of Switzerland Type: Federal state. Independence: The first Swiss Confederation was founded in August 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. The Swiss Confederation established independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. Constitution: 1848; extensively amended in 1874; fully revised in 2000 Branches: Executive--Federal Council, a collegium of seven members, headed by a rotating 1-year presidency. Legislative-- Federal Assembly (bicameral: Council of States, 46 members; National Council, 200 members). Judicial--Federal Tribunal. Administrative subdivisions: 26 cantons (states) with considerable autonomy. Political parties: Swiss People's Party (SVP), Social Democratic Party (SP), Free Democratic Party (FDP), Christian Democratic Party (CVP), and several smaller parties representing localities or views from extreme left to extreme right. Suffrage: In federal matters, universal over 18.

Map of Switzerland This Map of Switzerland shows the borders of the country, as well as rivers, and cities including Bern the capital of Switzerland. (Maps from the U.S. State Department)

Official Name of Switzerland The Official Name of Switzerland is the Swiss Confederation. (Facts from the U.S. State Department)

People of Switzerland Nationality: Noun and adjective--Swiss (singular and plural). Population (year-end 2009): 7.8 million. Ethnic groups: Mixed European. Religions: Roman Catholic 42%, Protestant 33%, Muslim 4.3%, others 5.4%, no religion 11%. Languages: German 63.7%, French 20.4%, Italian 6.5%, Romansch 0.5%, other 9.4%. Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance--100%. Literacy-- 100%. Health: Infant mortality rate--3.9/1,000. Life expectancy--men 79.4 yrs., women 84.2 yrs. Work force (4.0 million in second quarter 2010): Agriculture and forestry--4.0%. Industry and construction--23.5%. Services sector and government--72.5%.

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