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  CIA World FactBook 2003

CIA - The World Factbook -- Switzerland
 
Switzerland
Flag of Switzerland
Map of Switzerland
Introduction Switzerland
Background:
Switzerland's independence and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and Switzerland 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.
Geography Switzerland
Location:
Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy
Geographic coordinates:
47 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 41,290 sq km
water: 1,520 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Land boundaries:
total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 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 extremes:
lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m
Natural resources:
hydropower potential, timber, salt
Land use:
arable land: 10.57%
permanent crops: 0.61%
other: 88.82% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
avalanches, landslides, flash floods
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea
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 Switzerland
Population:
7,318,638 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.6% (male 623,428; female 591,709)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 2,519,302; female 2,439,560)
65 years and over: 15.6% (male 470,257; female 674,382) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.2 years
male: 39.3 years
female: 41.2 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.21% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
9.59 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
8.82 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.36 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 4.47 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.99 years
male: 77.11 years
female: 83.02 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.48 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
19,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2001 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss
Ethnic groups:
German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 46.1%, Protestant 40%, other 5%, none 8.9% (1990)
Languages:
German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 19.2%, Italian (official) 7.6%, Romansch (official) 0.6%, other 8.9%
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)
male:
female:
Government Switzerland
Country name:
conventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local short form: Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian)
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German), Confederation Suisse (French), Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
Government type:
federal republic
Capital:
Bern
Administrative divisions:
26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular - kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich
Independence:
1 August 1291 (Founding of the Swiss Confederation)
National holiday:
Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)
Constitution:
29 May 1874
Legal system:
civil law system influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory character; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pascal COUCHEPIN (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Ruth METZLER (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Pascal COUCHEPIN (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Ruth METZLER (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) elected by the Federal Assembly usually from among its own members for a four-year term
elections: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently; election last held NA December 2002 (next to be held NA December 2003)
election results: Pascal COUCHEPIN elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - NA%; Ruth METZLER elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - NA%
Legislative branch:
bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblee Federale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of the Council of States or Standerat (in German), Conseil des Etats (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats - members serve four-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (in German), Conseil National (in French), Consiglio Nazionale (in Italian) (200 seats - members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held NA 1999 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2003)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FDP 18, CVP 15, SVP 7, SPS 6; National Council - percent of vote by party - SPS 22.5%, SVP 22.6%, FDP 19.9%, CVP 15.8%, other small parties all under 5%; seats by party - SPS 51, SVP 44, FDP 43, CVP 35, Green Party 9, other small parties 18
Judicial branch:
Federal Supreme Court (judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic People's Party (Christichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Democratico-Cristiano Popolare Svizzero or PDC, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Philipp STAEHELIN, president]; Green Party (Grune Partei der Schweiz or Grune, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Ruth GENNER and Patrice MUGNY, co-presidents]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Christiane LANGENBERGER, president]; Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialist Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christiane BRUNNER, president]; Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica de Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Ueli MAURER, president]; and other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Christian BLICKENSTORFER
consulate(s): Boston
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mercer REYNOLDS III
embassy: Jubilaeumsstrasse 93, 3001 Bern
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (031) 357 70 11
FAX: [41] (031) 357 73 44
Flag description:
red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag
Economy Switzerland
Economy - overview:
Switzerland is a prosperous and stable modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP larger than that of the big western European economies. The Swiss in recent years have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness. Although the Swiss are not pursuing full EU membership in the near term, in 1999 Switzerland and Belgium signed agreements to further liberalize trade ties. They continue to discuss further areas for cooperation. Switzerland remains a safe haven for investors, because it has maintained a degree of bank secrecy and has kept up the franc's long-term external value. Reflecting the anemic economic conditions of Europe, GDP growth dropped in 2001 to about 0.8% and to about 0% in 2002.
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $231 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $31,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 34%
services: 64% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 25.2% (1992)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
33.1 (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.5% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
4 million (2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 69.1%, industry 26.3%, agriculture 4.6% (1998)
Unemployment rate:
1.9% (2002 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $30 billion
expenditures: $30 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Industries:
machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments
Industrial production growth rate:
3.2% (2001)
Electricity - production:
68.68 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 1.3%
hydro: 59.5%
other: 2.1% (2001)
nuclear: 37.1%
Electricity - consumption:
53.43 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
34.54 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
24.1 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
290,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
10,420 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
289,500 bbl/day (2001)
Agriculture - products:
grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs
Exports:
$100.3 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Exports - partners:
EU 61% (Germany 22.2%, France 9%, Italy 8%, UK 5.3%), US 10.6%, Japan 3.9% (2000)
Imports:
$94.4 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Imports - partners:
EU 79.9% (Germany 32.2%, France 11%, Italy 10.2%, Netherlands 5.9%, UK 4.6%), US 5.1% (2000)
Debt - external:
$NA
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $1.1 billion (1995)
Currency:
Swiss franc (CHF)
Currency code:
CHF
Exchange rates:
Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.5586 (2002), 1.6876 (2001), 1.6888 (2000), 1.5022 (1999), 1.4498 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Switzerland
Telephones - main lines in use:
4.82 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.967 million (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent domestic and international services
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 113 (plus many low power stations), shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios:
7.1 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
115 (plus 1,919 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
3.31 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.ch
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
44 (Switzerland and Liechtenstein) (2000)
Internet users:
3.85 million (2002)
Transportation Switzerland
Railways:
total: 4,511 km
standard gauge: 3,483 km 1.435-m gauge (3,472 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 982 km 1.000-m gauge (975 km electrified); 46 km 0.800-m gauge (46 km electrified) (2002)
Highways:
total: 71,059 km (including 1,638 km of expressways)
paved: 71,059 km
unpaved: 0 km (1999)
Waterways:
65 km
note: The Rhine carries heavy traffic on the Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee stretches; there are also 12 navigable lakes
Pipelines:
crude oil 314 km; natural gas 1,506 km
Ports and harbors:
Basel
Merchant marine:
total: 29 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 597,049 GRT/1,051,380 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: UK 6, US 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 16, cargo 6, chemical tanker 2, container 2, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 1, specialized tanker 1
Airports:
66 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 41
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 14 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 25
1524 to 2437 m: 1
under 914 m: 24 (2002)
Heliports:
1 (2002)
Military Switzerland
Military branches:
Army, Air Force, Frontier Guards, Fortification Guards
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,834,638 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,552,728 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 42,761 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$2.548 billion (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Switzerland
Disputes - international:
none
Illicit drugs:
because of more stringent government regulations, used significantly less as a money-laundering center; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin

This page was last updated on 1 August, 2003