Demographics of Switzerland

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Switzerland sits at the crossroads of several major European cultures, which have heavily influenced the country's languages and cultural practices. Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh . The German spoken here is predominantly a Swiss dialect, but newspapers and some broadcasts use High German as used in Germany. Many Swiss speak more than one language. English is widely known, especially among professionals.

More than 75% of the population live in the central plain, which stretches between the Alps and the Jura Mountains and from Geneva in the southwest to the Rhine River and Lake Constance in the northeast. Resident foreigners and temporary foreign workers make up about 20% of the population.

Almost all Swiss are literate. Switzerland's 13 institutes of higher learning enrolled 99,600 students in the academic year of 2001-02. About 25% of the adult population hold a diploma of higher learning.

The constitution guarantees freedom of worship and the different religious communities co-exist peacefully.

Switzerland consistently ranks high on quality of life indices, including per capita income, concentration of computer and internet usage per capita, insurance coverage per individual, and health care rates. For these and many other reasons, such as the four languages, it serves as an excellent test market for businesses hoping to introduce new products into Europe.

Evolution of the population of Switzerland 1961-2003. Data from FAO 2005; number of inhabitants in thousands.


Total of registered residents:

(numbers relate to 31 December)

Age structure

0-14 years:17% (male 637,782; female 605,626)
15-64 years:68% (male 2,498,540; female 2,421,802)
65 years and over:15% (male 444,627; female 653,995)

Data (2000 est.)

Population growth rate

0.3% (2000 est.)

Birth rate

10.4 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate

8.75 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate

1.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 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:0.68 male(s)/female
total population:0.97 male(s)/female

Data: (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

4.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population:79.6 years
male:76.73 years
female:82.63 years

Data: (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.47 children born/woman (2000 est.)


The number of registered resident foreigners was 1,001,887 (16.17%) in 1970. If fell to 904,337 (14.34%) in 1979, and has increased steadily since, passing the 20% mark during 2001 and rising to 1,524,663 (20.56%) in 2004.

In 2003, 35,424 persons were granted Swiss citizenship, compared to 8,658 in 1990.

In 2000, 1'299'095 resident foreigners (86.9%, or 17.8% of the total population), had European citizenship, 92'145 residents were from Asia, 51'124 from America, and 49'873 from Africa. The largest group consists of citizens of former Yugoslavian states with 362'403, followed by Italy (322'203), Portugal (142,415), Germany (112,348), Spain (84'559), Turkey (83,312), and France (62'727).

In 2004, 623,100 Swiss citizens (8.9%) lived abroad, the largest group in France (166,200), followed by the USA (71,400) and Germany (70,500).


In the year 2000, 5.78 million residents (79.2%, compared to 93.8% in 1980) were Christian (Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Orthodox 1.8%). 809,800 (11.1%, compared to 3.8% in 1980) were without any religious affiliation (compared to 3.8% in 1980). 310,800 (4.3%) were Muslim (compared to 0.9% in 1980), 17,900 (0.2%) were Jewish.


File:Swiss languages.png
The languages of Switzerland: German (yellow), French (purple), Italian (green), and Romansh (red).

The four official languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian, and Rumantsch. Native speakers number about 64% (4.6 million) for German (Swiss German dialects), 19% (1.5 million) for French, 8% (0.5 million) for Italian and less than 1% (35,000) for Rumantsch.

The non-official language with the largest group of native speakers is Serbo-Croatian with 111,000 speakers in 2000, followed by Albanian with 95,000, Portuguese with 89,500, Spanish with 77,500, English with 73,000, Turkish 44,000, and a total of 165,000 speakers of other languages, amounting to roughly 10% of the population with a native language not among the four official languages.


Definition: age 15 and over can read and write

Total population: 99% (1980 est.) (no separate numbers for sexes)


The police registered a total of 332,452 criminal offenses in 2003, including 187 killings and 547 cases of rape. In the same year, 86,186 adults (85% of them male, 51.1% of them Swiss citizens) were convicted under criminal law. 54.8% of convictions were for traffic offences, 37.9% of punishments were in the form of fines only. In the same year, 13,483 minors (82% of them male, 61.4% of them of Swiss nationality, 79.5% aged between 15 and 18) were convicted.

See also

External links

bg:Население на Швейцария es:Demografía de Suiza fr:Population de la Suisse pt:Demografia da Suíça