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Key Statistics


How many people live in Switzerland and which languages do they speak? How high is the poverty line? Here you'll find hard facts about the country at a glance.

Editorial note: this entry was current as of May 2017 and is no longer being updated. 

With a populationexternal link of 8,417,700 permanent residents at the end of 2016, Switzerland is the world’s 97th largest country by population and 135th largest country by area. 

Zurich is the country’s most populated city with over 380,500 people, followed by Geneva (about 202,419), Basel (about 198,206), Lausanne (about 143,561) and the capital Bern (about 131,000). 

The country remains one of the wealthiest with a GDP per capita of about CHF77,943, per year (2015), one of the highest in the world, according to the World Bank.

However, about 6.6% of the population lives below the poverty line, defined as earning less than CHF2,219 a month for a single person or less than CHF4,031 a month for a couple with two children according to 2014 data from the Federal Statistical Officeexternal link

Fast facts

  • Total area: 41,285 square kilometres (about the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined or roughly half the size of Scotland)
  • Number of cantons: 26
  • Resident population: 8,417,700 (2016)
  • Swiss population: 6,321,692 (2016)
  • Foreign population: 2,096,008 (2016)
  • Foreign resident population by nationality/region (2015): European Union/EFTA (1,361,600), Italy (311,742), Germany (300,691), Portugal (267,474)), France (122,970), Kosovo (106,879), Spain (82,334), Serbia (71,260); Asia/Oceania (136,800), Americas (78,800); Africa (93,800).
  • Swiss population abroad (2015): over 760,000
  • Life expectancy (2015): 84.9 years (women); 80.7 (men)
  • Languages declared as main languages (2015): German/ Swiss German (63%), French (22.7%), Italian (8.1%), Romansh (0.5%). 
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of Swiss use more than one languageexternal link at least once a week, with 38% using two, 19% three and 7% four or more. English and Portuguese are the most commonly spoken foreign languages, along with Spanish, Serbian, Croatian and Albanian.
  • Religion (2015): Roman Catholic (37.7%), Protestant (25.5%), no religious affiliation (23.1%), Muslim (5.1%).

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