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World > Europe > Switzerland > People (Notes)

Switzerland - People (Notes)


PEOPLE
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 Romansch (based on Latin and spoken by a small minority in the Canton Graubunden). The German spoken is predominantly a Swiss dialect, but newspapers and some broadcasts use High German. Many Swiss speak more than one language. English is widely known, especially among professionals.

More than 75% of the population lives 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.

According to the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics, the population in Switzerland increased to 7,523,934 (July estimate) in 2006. Three-quarters of this growth was attributed to migration. Switzerland naturalized 22% more people in 2006 compared to 2005, totaling 46,700 persons. By the end of 2006, there were 850,000 foreigners working legally in Switzerland. The rise of German immigrants, as confirmed in earlier reports, increased by 10.6% (+10,000). Portuguese workers also increased by 7.4% (+7000). On the other hand, the number of the Italians continued to drop by ?3.2% (-5000).

Almost all Swiss are literate. Switzerland's 13 university institutes enrolled 111,100 students in the academic year of 2004-05. About 25% of the adult population holds 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 highest per capita income, one of the highest concentrations of computer and Internet usage per capita, highest insurance coverage per individual, and high health care rates. For these and many other reasons, it serves as an excellent test market for businesses hoping to introduce new products into Europe.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Swiss Franc Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Swiss Franc Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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