The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency


(See reference map V)

LAND edit

41,440 km2; 10% arable, 43% meadows and pastures, 20% waste or urban, 24% forested, 3% inland water

Land boundaries: 1,884 km


Population: 6,407,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate −0.3%

Nationality: noun—Swiss (sing. & pl.); adjective—Swiss

Ethnic divisions: total population—69% German, 19% French, 10% Italian, 1% Romansch, 1% other; Swiss nationals—74% German, 20% French, 4% Italian, 1% Romansch, 1% other

Religion: 53% Protestant, 46% Roman Catholic

Language: Swiss nationals—74% German, 20% French, 4% Italian, 1% Romansch, 1% other; total population—69% German, 19% French, 10% Italian, 1% Romansch, 1% other

Literacy: 98%

Labor force: 2.6 million, about one-tenth foreign workers, mostly Italian; 16% agriculture and forestry, 47% industry and crafts, 20% trade and transportation, 5% professions, 2% in public service, 10% domestic and other; approximately 0.2% unemployed in September 1980

Organized labor: 20% of labor force


Official name: Swiss Confederation

Type: federal republic

Capital: Bern

Political subdivisions: 23 cantons (3 divided into half cantons)

Legal system: civil law system influenced by customary law; constitution adopted 1874, amended since; judicial review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory character; legal education at Universities of Bern, Geneva, and Lausanne, and four other university schools of law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: 1 August

Branches: bicameral parliament has legislative authority; federal council (Bundesrat) has executive authority; justice left chiefly to cantons

Government leader: Fritz HONEGGER, President (1982, rotates annually)

Suffrage: universal over age 20

Elections: held every four years; next elections 1983

Political parties and leaders: Social Democratic Party (SPS), Helmut Hubacher, president; Radical Democratic Party (FDP), Yann Richter, president; Christian Democratic Peopled Party (CVP), Hans Wyer, president; Swiss People's Party (SVP), Fritz Hofmann, chairman; Communist Party (PdA), Armand Magnin, chairman; National Action Party (N.A.), Hans Zwicky, chairman

Voting strength (1979 election): 25.5% FDP, 25.5% SPS, 22.0% CVP, 11.5% SVP, 4.0% LdU, 4.0% LPS, 1.5% PdA, 1.5% EVP, 4.5% others

Communists: about 5,000 members

Other parties: Landesring (LdU); Republican Movement (Rep); Liberal Party (LPS); Evangelical Peopled Party (EVP); Maoist Party (POSH/PSA)

Member of: ADB, Council of Europe, DAC, EFTA, ELDO (observer), ESRO, FAO, GATT, IAEA, ICAC, ICAO, ICO, IEA, IFAD, ILO, IMCO, IPU, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, OECD, UN (permanent observer), UNESCO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG, WTO


GNP: $90.31 billion (1980), $14,270 per capita; 61% consumption, 26% investment, 13% government, −0.9% net foreign balance; real growth rate 0.4% (1980)

Agriculture: dairy farming predominates; less than 50% self-sufficient; food shortages — fish, refined sugar, fats and oils (other than butter), grains, eggs, fruits, vegetables, meat; caloric intake, 3,190 calories per day per capita (1969-70)

Major industries: machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments

Shortages: practically all important raw materials except hydroelectric energy

Electric power: 15,000,000 kW capacity (1980); 48.162 billion kWh produced (1980), 7,610 kWh per capita

Exports: $29.27 billion (f.o.b., 1980); principal items—machinery and equipment, chemicals, precision instruments, metal products, textiles, foodstuffs

Imports: $35,174 billion (c.i.f., 1980); principal items—machinery and transportation equipment, metals and metal products, foodstuffs, chemicals, textile fibers and yarns

Major trade partners: 60% EC, 23% other developed, 4% Communist, 12% LDCs

Aid: donor: bilateral economic aid committed (ODA and OOF), $860 million (1970-79)

Budget: receipts $8.33 billion, expenditures $8.87 billion, deficit $0.54 billion (1980)

Monetary conversion rate: US$1.00=1.96 Swiss francs (1981 average)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 5,098 km total; 2,895 km government owned (SBB), 2,822 km standard gauge (1.435 m); 73 km narrow gauge (LOO m); 1,339 km double track, 99% electrified; 2,203 km nongovernment owned, 710 km standard gauge (1.435 m), 1,418 km meter-gauge (1.00 m), 75 km 0.790-meter gauge, 100% electrified

Highways: £2,145 km total (all paved), of which 18,620 km are canton and 1,057 km are national highways (740 km autobahn)

Pipelines: 314 km crude oil; 1,046 km natural gas

Inland waterways: 65 km; Rhine River-Basel to Rheinfelden, Schaffhausen to Constanz; in addition, there are 12 navigable lakes ranging in size from Lake Geneva to Hallwilersee

Ports: 1 major (Basel), 2 minor (all inland)

Civil air: 83 major transport aircraft, including 1 leased out

Airfields: 80 total, 71 usable; 41 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,660 m, 7 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 14 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent domestic, international, and broadcast services; 4.45 million telephones (70.0 per 100 popl.); 6 AM, 200 FM, and 1,125 TV stations; 1 satellite station with 2 Atlantic Ocean antennas


Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,656,000; 1,435,000 fit for military service; 50,000 reach military age (20) annually

Major ground units: no active combat units

Military budget: proposed for fiscal year ending 31 December 1982, $2,018 million; 20.1% of proposed central government budget