The World Factbook (1990)/Switzerland


World Factbook (1990) Switzerland.jpg

 See regional map V


Total area: 41,290 km²; land area: 39,770 km²

Comparative area: slightly more than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries: 1,852 km total; Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, FRG 334 km

Coastline: none—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

Natural resources: hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use: 10% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 40% meadows and pastures; 26% forest and woodland; 23% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: dominated by Alps

Note: landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe


Population: 6,742,461 (July 1990), growth rate 0.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 12 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 3 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 5 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 75 years male, 83 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman (1990)

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

Ethnic divisions: total population—65% German, 18% French, 10% Italian, 1% Romansch, 6% other; Swiss nationals—74% German, 20% French, 4% Italian, 1% Romansch, 1% other

Religion: 49% Roman Catholic, 48% Protestant, 0.3% Jewish

Language: total population—65% German, 18% French, 12% Italian, 1% Romansch, 4% other; Swiss nationals—74% German, 20% French, 4% Italian, 1% Romansch, 1% other

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 3,220,000; 841,000 foreign workers, mostly Italian; 42% services, 39% industry and crafts, 11% government, 7% agriculture and forestry, 1% other (1988)

Organized labor: 20% of labor force


Long-form name: Swiss Confederation

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, Ausser-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, BaselStadt, Bern, Fribourg, Genève, Glarus, Graubünden, Inner-Rhoden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zürich

Independence: 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

National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)

Executive branch: president, vice president, Federal Council (German—Bundesrat, French—Conseil Fédéral)

Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly (German—Bundesversammlung, French—Assemblee Fédérale) consists of an upper council or Council of States (German—Ständerat, French—Conseil des Etats) and and a lower council or National Council (German—Nationalrat, French—Conseil National)

Judicial branch: Federal Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Arnold KOLLER (1990 calendar year; presidency rotates annually); Vice President Flavio COTTI (term runs concurrently with that of president)

Political parties and leaders: Social Democratic Party (SPS), Helmut Hubacher, chairman; Radical Democratic Party (FDP), Bruno Hunziker, president; Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP), Eva Segmüller-Weber, president; Swiss People's Party (SVP), Hans Uhlmann, president; Workers' Party (PdA), Armand Magnin, secretary general; National Action Party (NA), Hans Zwicky, chairman; Independents' Party (LdU), Dr. Franz Jaeger, president; Republican Movement (Rep), Dr. James Schworzenboch, Franz Baumgartner, leaders; Liberal Party (LPS), Gilbert Coutau, president; Evangelical People's Party (EVP), Max Dünki, president; Progressive Organizations of Switzerland (POCH), Georg Degen, secretary; Federation of Ecology Parties (GP), Laurent Rebeaud, president; Autonomous Socialist Party (PSA), Werner Carobbio, secretary

Suffrage: universal at age 20

Elections: Council of State—last held throughout 1987 (next to be held NA); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(46 total) CVP 19, FDP 14, SPS 5, SVP 4, others 4;

National Council—last held 18 October 1987 (next to be held October 1991); results—FDP 22.9%, CVP 20.0%, SPS 18.4%, SVP 11.0%, GP 4.8%, others 22.9%; seats—(200 total) FDP 51, CVP 42, SPS 41, SVP 25, GP 9, others 32

Communists: 4,500 members (est.)

Member of: ADB, CCC, Council of Europe, DAC, EFTA, ESA, FAO, GATT, IAEA, ICAC, ICAO, ICO, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IEA, IFAD, ILO, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, OECD, UNESCO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG, WTO; permanent observer status at the UN

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Edouard BRUNNER; Chancery at 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 745-7900; there are Swiss Consulates General in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco; US—Ambassador Joseph B. GUILDENHORN; Embassy at Jubilaeumstrasse 93, 3005 Bern; telephone [41](31) 437011; there is a Branch Office of the Embassy in Geneva and a Consulate General in Zurich

Flag: red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag


Overview: Switzerland's economic success is matched in few, if any, other nations. Per capita output, general living standards, education and science, health care, and diet are unsurpassed in Europe. Inflation remains low because of sound government policy and harmonious labor-management relations. Unemployment is negligible, a marked contrast to the larger economies of Western Europe. This economic stability helps promote the important banking and tourist sectors. Since World War II, Switzerland's economy has adjusted smoothly to the great changes in output and trade patterns in Europe and presumably can adjust to the challenges of the 1990s, in particular, the further economic integration of Western Europe and the amazingly rapid changes in East European political/economic prospects.

GDP: $119.5 billion, per capita $17,800; real growth rate 3.0% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 0.5% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $17.0 billion; expenditures $16.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1988)

Exports: $51.2 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities— machinery and equipment, precision instruments, metal products, foodstuffs, textiles and clothing; partners—Europe 64% (EC 56%, other 8%), US 9%, Japan 4%

Imports: $57.2 billion (c.i.f., 1988); commodities— agricultural products, machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, textiles, construction materials; partners—Europe 79% (EC 72%, other 7%), US 5%

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate 7.0% (1988)

Electricity: 17,710,000 kW capacity; 59,070 million kWh produced, 8,930 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments

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

Aid: donor—ODA and OOF commitments (1970-87), $2.5 billion

Currency: Swiss franc, franken, or franco (plural—francs, franken, or franchi); 1 Swiss franc, franken, or franco (SwF) = 100 centimes, rappen, or centesimi

Exchange rates: Swiss francs, franken, or franchi (SwF) per US$1—1.5150 (January 1990), 1.6359 (1989), 1.4633 (1988), 1.4912 (1987), 1.7989 (1986), 2.4571 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 5,174 km total; 2,971 km are government owned and 2,203 km are nongovernment owned; the government network consists of 2,897 km 1.435-meter standard gauge and 74 km 1.000-meter narrow gauge track; 1,432 km double track, 99% electrified; the nongovernment network consists of 710 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 1,418 km 1.000-meter gauge, and 75 km 0.790-meter gauge track, 100% electrified

Highways: 62,145 km total (all paved), of which 18,620 km are canton and 1,057 km are national highways (740 km autobahn); 42,468 km are communal roads

Pipelines: 314 km crude oil; 1,506 km natural gas

Inland waterways: 65 km; Rhine (Basel to Rheinfelden, Schaffhausen to Bodensee); 12 navigable lakes

Ports: Basel (river port)

Merchant marine: 20 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 215,851 GRT/365,131 DWT; includes 4 cargo, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 3 chemical tanker, 3 specialized liquid cargo, 8 bulk

Civil air: 89 major transport aircraft

Airports: 72 total, 70 usable; 42 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 6 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 17 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent domestic, international, and broadcast services; 5,808,000 telephones; stations—6 AM, 36 (400 relays) FM, 145 (1,250 relays) TV; communications satellite earth stations operating in the INTELSAT (4 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and EUTELSAT systems

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,800,211; 1,550,662 fit for military service; 44,154 reach military age (20) annually

Defense expenditures: $1.2 billion (1989 est.)