This, plus the similarities between our cultures and the problems with multiculturalism, makes Switzerland a good sounding board for the immense crime problems brought on by multiculturalism.
In the right to bear arms debate, pro-gun Americans point to Switzerland, where almost every adult male is legally required to possess a gun. One of the few nations with a higher per capita rate of gun ownership than the United States, Switzerland has virtually no gun crime. Therefore, argue the pro-gunners, America doesn't need gun control.
Yet Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), in its brochure "Handgun Facts," points to Switzerland as one of the advanced nations with strict handgun laws." The brochure states that all guns are registered, and handgun purchases require a background check and a permit. Gun crime in Switzerland is virtually non-existent. Therefore, concludes Handgun Control, America needs strict gun control.
Who's right? As usual, Handgun Control is wrong, but that doesn't necessarily make the pro-gun side right. Gun ownership in Switzerland defies the simple categories of the American gun debate.
Like America, Switzerland won its independence in a revolutionary war fought by an armed citizenry. In 1291, several cantons (states) began a war of national liberation against Austria's Hapsburg Empire. In legend, the revolution was precipitated by William Tell, although there is no definitive proof of his existence.
Over the next century, the Swiss militia liberated most Switzerland from the Austrians. The ordinary citizens who composed the militia used the deadliest assault weapons the time, swords and bows. Crucial to the Swiss victory was the motivation of the free Swiss troops.
From the very first years of Swiss independence, the Swiss were commanded to keep and bear arms. After 1515. Switzerland adopted a policy of armed neutrality. For the next four centuries, the great empires of Europe rose and fell, swallowing many weaker countries. Russia and France both invaded, and the Habsburgs and later the Austro Hungarian Empire remained special threats. But Switzerland almost always retained its independence. The Swiss policy was Pr�vention de Ia guerre par Ia volont� de se d�fendre During World War I, both France and Germany considered invading Switzerland to attack each other's flank. In World War II, Hitler wanted the Swiss gold reserves and needed free communications and transit through Switzerland to supply Axis forces in the Mediterranean. But when military planners looked at Switzerland's well-armed citizenry, mountainous terrain, and civil defence fortifications, Switzerland lost its appeal as an invasion target. While two World Wars raged, Switzerland enjoyed a secure peace.
At home, the "Swiss Confederation" developed only a weak central government, leaving most authority in the hands of the cantons or lower levels of government. The tradition of local autonomy helped keep Switzerland from experiencing the bitter civil wars between Catholics and Protestants that devastated Germany, France and England.
In 1847-48, liberals throughout Europe revolted against aristocratic rule. Only in Switzerland did they succeed, taking control of the whole nation following a brief conflict called the Sonderbrund War. (Total casualties were only 128.) Civil rights were firmly guaranteed, and all vestiges of feudalism were abolished.
Despite the hopes of German reformers, the Swiss did not send their people's army into Germany in 1848 to assist popular revolution there. When the German revolution failed, autocratic Prussia considered invading Switzerland, but decided the task was impossible.
As one historian summarises: "Switzerland was created in battle, reached its present dimensions by conquest and defended its existence by armed neutrality thereafter." The experience of Swiss history has made national independence and power virtually synonymous with an armed citizenry.
Today, military service for Swiss males is universal. At about age 20, every Swiss male goes through 118 consecutive days of recruit training in the Rekrutenschule. This training may be a young man's first encounter with his countrymen who speak different languages. (Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch.)
Even before required training begins, young men and women may take optional courses with the Swiss army's M57 assault rifle. They keep that gun at home for three months and receive six half-day training sessions.
From age 21 to 32, a Swiss man serves as a "frontline" troop in the Auszug, and devotes three weeks a year (in eight of the 12 years) to continued training. From age 33 to 42, he serves in the Landwehr (like America's National Guard); every few years, he reports for two-week training periods. Finally, from ages 43, to 50, he serves in the Landsturm; in this period, he only spends 13 days total in "home guard courses."
Over a soldier's career he also spends scattered days on mandatory equipment inspections and required target practice. Thus, in a 30-year mandatory military career, a Swiss man only spends about one year in direct military service. Following discharge from the regular army, men serve on reserve status until age 50 (55 for officers).
By the Federal Constitution of 1874, military servicemen are given their first equipment, clothing and arms. After the first training period, conscripts must keep gun, ammunition and equipment an ihrem Wohnort ("in their homes") until the end of their term of service.
Today, enlisted men are issued M57 automatic assault rifles and officers are given pistol, Each reservist is issued 24 rounds of ammunition in sealed packs for emergency use. (Contrary to Handgun Control's claim that "all ammunition must be accounted for," the emergency ammunition is the only ammo that requires accounting.)
After discharge from service, the man is given a bolt rifle free from registration or obligation. Starting in the 1994, the government will give ex-reservists assault rifles. Officers carry pistols rather than rifles and are given their pistols the end of their service.
When the government adopts a new infantry rifle, it sells the old ones to the public.
Reservists are encouraged to buy military ammunition (7.5 and 5.6mm-5.56 mm in other countries-for rifles and 9 and 7.65 mm Luger for pistols, which is sold at cost by the government, for target practice Non-military ammunition for long-gun hunting and .22 Long Rifle (LR) ammo are not subsidised, but are subiect to no sales controls. Non-military non-hunting ammunition more powerful than .22 LR (such as .38 Spl.) is registered at the time of sale.
Swiss military ammo must be registered if bought at a private store, but need not be registered if bought at a range The nation's 3,000 shooting ranges sell the overwhelming majority of ammunition. Technically, ammunition bought at the range must be used at the range, but the rule is barely known and almost never obeyed.
The army sells a variety of machine guns, submachine guns, anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft guns, howitzers and cannons. Purchasers of these weapons require an easily obtained cantonal license, and the weapons are registered, In a nation of six million people, there are at least two million guns, including 600,00 fully automatic assault rifles, half a million pistols, and numerous machine guns. Virtually every home has a gun.
Besides subsidised military surplus, the Swiss can buy other firearms easily too. While long guns require no special purchase procedures, handguns are sold only to those with a Waffenerwerbsschien (purchase certificate) issued by a cantonal authority. A certificate is issued to every applicant over 18 who is not a criminal or mentally infirm.
There are no restrictions on the carrying of long guns. About half the cantons have strict permit procedures for carrying handguns, and the other half have no rules at all There is no discernible difference in the crime rate between the cantons as a result of the different policies.
Thanks to a lawsuit brought by the Swiss gun lobby, semi-automatic rifles require no purchase permit and are not registered by the government. Thus, the only long guns registered by the government are full automatics. (Three cantons do require collectors of more than 10 guns to register.)
Gun sales from one individual to another are regulated in five cantons and completely uncontrolled in all the rest.
Retail gun dealers do keep records of over-the-counter gun transactions; transactions are not reported to or collected by the government. (This is also the policy in the U.S. during those periods the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms feels like obeying the law.) In Switzerland, purchases from dealers of hunting long guns and of smallbore rifles are not even recorded by the dealer. In other words, the dealer would not record the sale of a .30-06 hunting rifle, but would record the sale of a .30-06 Garand.
Thus, Handgun Control's assertion that all Swiss guns are registered is just plain wrong, and its claim that "Switzerland and Israel strictly control handgun availability" is more than a little inaccurate.
Anybody, including this author, can make mistakes about the complexities about foreign gun laws. Nevertheless, even the most careless authors ought to do better than Handgun Control's brochure "Handgun Facts," in which almost every "fact" about Switzerland is wrong.
But Handgun Control's misstatements are no worse than those contained in a highly biased Library of Congress book Gun Control Laws in Foreign Countries (which tax dollars paid for). That book claims that in Switzerland "the policy is not to provide automatic guns and other dangerous weapons to the general population"-an utter untruth, at least if one considers adults to be part of "the general population." The book also asserts that "the sale of handguns to individuals is restricted and reflects a clear Swiss government policy of keeping this strict control." Yet the only individuals who are "restricted" from buying handguns are children, the insane and ex-criminals.
If ever a nation had "a well-regulated militia," it is Switzerland. Nineteenth-century economist Adam Smith thought Switzerland the only place where the whole body of the people had successfully been drilled in militia skills.
Indeed, the militia is virtually synonymous with the nation. "The Swiss do not have an army, they are the army, says one government publication. Fully deployed, the Swiss army has 15.2 men per square kilometre; in contrast, the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. have only .2 soldiers per square kilometre. Switzerland is 76 times denser with soldiers than either superpower. Indeed, only Israel has more army per square kilometre.
Switzerland is also the only Western nation to provide shelters fully stocked with food and enough supplies to last a year for all its citizens in case of war. The banks and supermarkets subsidise much of the stockpiling. The banks also have plans to move their gold into the mountainous center of Switzerland in case of invasion.
The nation is ready to mobilise on a moment's notice. Said one Swiss citizen-soldier, "If we start in the morning, we would be mobilised by late afternoon. That is why the gun is at home, the ammunition is at home. The younger people all have automatic rifles. They are ready to fight." Citizen-soldiers on their way to mobilisation points may flag down and commandeer passing automobiles.
Since 1291, when the landsgemeinden (people's assemblies) formed circles in the village squares, and only men carrying swords could vote, weapons have been the mark of citizenship. As a Military Department spokesman said, "It is an old Swiss tradition that only an armed man can have political rights." This policy is based on the understanding that only those who bear the burden of keeping Switzerland free are entitled to fully enjoy the benefits of freedom.
In 1977, the M�nchenstein Initiative proposed allowing citizens to choose social or hospital work over military duty. It was rejected at the polls, and in both houses of parliament (the Bundesversarnmlung's Nationalrat and St�nderat). There are provisions for conscientious objectors, but this group only numbers .2% of conscripts.
In 1978, Switzerland refused to ratify a Council of Europe Convention on Control of Firearms. Since then, Switzerland has been pressured by other European governments, which charge that it is a source for terrorist weapons. As a result, in 1982 the central government proposed a law barring foreigners in Switzerland from buying guns they could not buy in their own countries and also requiring that Swiss citizens obtain a license to buy any gun, rather than just handguns.
Outraged Swiss gun owners formed a group called "Pro Tell," named after national hero William Tell. In 1983, the Federal Council (the executive cabinet) abandoned the restrictive proposal because "the opposition was too heavy" and suggested that the cantons regulate the matter. A few months earlier, the Cantonal Council of Freiburg had already enacted such a law by a one-vote margin. A popular referendum overturned the law the next year, by a 60%-40% vote.
Whatever the effect of Swiss guns abroad, they are not even a trivial crime problem domestically. Despite all the guns, the murder rate is a small fraction of the American rate, and is less than the rate in Canada or England, which strictly control guns, or in Japan, which virtually prohibits them. The gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.
The suicide rate, though, is almost double the American rate. Guns are used in about one-fifth of all Swiss suicides compared to three-fifths of American and one-third of Canadian suicides.
It is not Switzerland's cultural makeup, or its gun policies per se, that explain that low crime rate. Rather, it is the emphasis on community duty, of which gun ownership is the most important part, that best explains low crime rate.
In Cities With Little Crime, author Marshall Clinard contrasts the low crime rate in Switzerland with the higher rate in Sweden, where gun control is more extensive. The higher Swedish rate is all the more surprising in view of Sweden's much lower population density and its ethnic homogeneity. One of the reasons for the low crime rate, says Clinard, is that Swiss cities grew relatively slowly. Most families live for generations in the same area. Therefore, large, heterogeneous cities with slum cultures never developed.
Proud to have the weakest central government in the West, Switzerlan is governed mainly by its 3,095 Einwohrnergemeinde (communes, sub-states of a canton). Several cantons still make their laws by the traditional Landsgemeinden system, whereby all eligible voters assemble in annual outdoor meetings.
Unlike the rest of Europe, the police force is decentralised. Judges and jurors are popularly elected. With less mobility, and more deeply developed community ties, there is less crime.
Most democratic nations impose long prison terms more frequently than does America, but Switzerland does not. For all crimes except murder, the Swiss rarely inflict a prison term of more than a year; most serious offenders receive suspended sentences. As in Japan, the focus of the criminal justice system is on the reintegration of the offender into the community, rather than punishment.
As for the non-criminal Swiss, the saying is that everyone is his own policeman. Foreign visitors are surprised to see Swiss pedestrians always waiting at traffic lights, even when there is no traffic. The mass transit systems successfully depends on voluntary payment.
Clinard infers that strong central governments weaken citizen initiative and individual responsibility. He concludes: Communities or cities that wish to prevent crime should encourage greater political decentralisation by developing small government units and encouraging citizen responsibility for obedience to the law and crime control."
In Nations Not Obsessed With Crime, Freda Adler comes to many of the same conclusions as Clinard. She, too, emphasises the communal system of government-in which all laws are enacted by popular vote-and the stability of residential patterns.
Most Swiss still live in traditional patriarchal families. In fact, Switzerland has the lowest percentage of working mothers of any European country. While America was debating the Equal Rights Amendment, Switzerland was wondering whether women should be allowed to vote. (The long delay in female suffrage may have something to do with the equation of civil rights and militia service.)
Schools are strict, and teenagers have less freedom than in most of the rest of Europe. Studies shows that Swiss teenagers, unlike teenagers in other countries, feel closer to their parents than to their fellow teenagers. Communications between the generations are open.
Among the factors contributing to the inter-generational harmony is military service, which provides an opportunity for all groups of males to interact. Adults and youth share many sports, such as skiing and swimming.
Target shooting is another important shared pastime, with community awards and team trophies often displayed in restaurants and taverns. At the annual Feldschiessen weekend, more than 200,000 Swiss attend national marksmanship competitions.
In the home, writes John McPhee, "while a father cleans his rifle at the kitchen table his son is watching, and 'the boy gets close to the weapon' ". Marshall Clinard explains that because army weapons must be kept in the home much activity associated with the proper care of weapons, target practice, or conversations about military activities become common in the family. All of this, together with the other varied activities carried out in Switzerland across age lines, has served to inhibit the age separation, alienation, and growth of a separate youth culture that has increasingly become characteristic of the United States, Sweden, and many other highly developed countries. Although these factors represent only one aspect of a total Swiss way of life, they play no small part in the low crime rate and the crime trend."
Close analysis of Swiss gun laws also shows how silly it is for Handgun Control to point to Switzerland as a model. If-as Handgun Control claims-Switzerland's lenient licensing system is the reason Switzerland has so little handgun crime, then Handgun Control ought to commit itself to reform of several American laws.
First of all, Handgun Control should oppose the gun prohibition laws in Washington, D.C., and other cities-since Switzerland proves that lenient licensing is all that is needed to stop gun crime.
Second, Handgun Control should work to repeal laws which prohibit Americans from owning howitzers, anti-aircraft guns, and other military weapons. Switzerland allows ownership of these weapons by anyone who can meet the simple requirements for a handgun license. And thanks to the "howitzer licensing" system there is no howitzer crime in Switzerland. Since Swiss-style handgun licensing is the main reason Switzerland has no handgun crime (claims Handgun Control), a Swiss-style system of howitzer licensing would also be a good idea for America.
Lastly, Handgun Control should reverse its policy, and work for repeal of America's ban on the possession of machine guns manufactured after 1986. Handgun Control should push America to adopt the Swiss policy: having the government sell machine guns at discount prices to anyone with an easily obtained permit.
It is not likely, though, that Handgun Control will follow the logic of its advertising, and work to let Americans own licensed machine guns and howitzers. But until Handgun Control does so, it should stop talking about what a good handgun licensing system Switzerland has.
If Handgun Control should stop its rhetoric about Switzerland, what should pro-gun Americans do? They can talk about Switzerland, but they cannot expect to win the American gun argument with the Swiss example.
Analysis of Switzerland does demolish the simplistic notion "more guns, more gun crime." More important than the number of guns is their cultural context. In Switzerland, guns are an important element of a cohesive social structure that keeps crime low.
While Switzerland is clear proof that guns are not in themselves "daemons" (as one Denver priest recently claimed), Switzerland does not by itself prove the ease against gun control in America. Indeed, author Clinard argues that strict gun controls are necessary in the U.S.
Clinard's argument cannot be dismissed out of hand. After all, few readers of this magazine would want America to adopt the lenient criminal sentencing practices of Switzerland. Opponents of lenient sentencing would argue, correctly, that America does not have the stable, integrated community structures of Switzerland. Thus, the American government must take a more coercive, authoritarian role in controlling prisoners, to make up for the lack of community controls.
The same point might be made about guns. Although guns are more available to the Swiss, Swiss gun culture is more authoritarian than America's. Gun ownership is a mandatory community duty, not a matter of individual free choice. In Switzerland, defence of the nation is not a job for professional soldiers or for people who join the army to learn technical skills for civilian jobs. Defence of the nation is the responsibility of every male citizen.
Thus, American gun owners must win the gun control argument based on conditions in America, not conditions in Switzerland. The implicit argument of Clinard (and of most American gun controllers) is that while the Swiss may be responsible enough to own even the deadliest guns, Americans are not.
Before rejecting this argument, American gun owners might wonder if an unmanned American mass transit system could count on payment by the honour code. Further, America obviously has a large criminal class of gun abusers, and Switzerland does not.
If strict gun control could actually disarm that criminal element in America, there might be an argument for gun control. But as Josh Sugarmann, former communications director for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns (NCBH), wrote in The Washington Monthly: "handgun controls do little to stop criminals from obtaining handguns."
Sugarmann and NCBH favour gun control not to disarm criminals, but because they believe that non-criminal Americans cannot be trusted with handguns. The coalition's political affairs director, Eric Ellman, has said that "the majority of gun owners are not responsible." Yet a look at the facts shows that more than 99% of American citizens who are not professional felons are just as suited for gun ownership as any Swiss militiaman.
Ordinary American citizens use guns competently. Every 48 seconds, someone uses a handgun to defend himself against a crime (according to Florida State University's Gary Kleck, using data collected by liberal pollster Peter Hart in a poll paid for by the anti-gun lobby).
Regular American citizens do not shoot each other in moments of passion; the vast majority of such shootings are perpetrated by thugs with a record of violence and substance abuse.
And contrary to the claims of the anti-gun lobby, Americans are not so careless that they cannot be trusted with potentially dangerous objects like guns. Gun accidents account for less than 2% of the nation's 92,000 accidental deaths annually.
Suicides have little to do with gun availability. Japan has no guns, while Switzerland is deluged with every gun in the book, and both nations have the same suicide rate.
Of course the more that U.S. governments can do to make gun use in America even more responsible, the better. Switzerland shows how successful governments can be in promoting responsible gun use.
Elementary schools in America should have gun safety classes which teach children never to touch a gun unless a parent is present, and they should be taught to tell an adult if they see an unattended gun. The NRA actively promotes this idea, and the National Association of Chiefs of Police endorses it. But Handgun Control opposes this reasonable, sensible safety measure. Has HCI gone off the deep end?
High schools and colleges wishing to offer target shooting as a sport should be allowed to do so. Unlike football or swimming, scholastic target shooting has never resulted in a fatality. The anti-gun groups oppose the sensible step of allowing the schools to offer students the safest sport ever invented. Have they gone off the deep end'? Finally, local governments should enact reasonable zoning laws, which allow the construction of indoor shooting ranges (properly ventilated and sound insulated) in urban areas. In some cases, governments should subsidise the building of ranges. At target ranges, Americans can take lessons in gun responsibility, and practice safe gun handling skills. As you might expect, the anti-gunners oppose this simple safety measure too. They've gone off the deep end.
What have we learned from Switzerland?' Guns in themselves are not a cause of gun crime; if they were, everyone in Switzerland would long ago have been shot in a domestic quarrel.
Cultural conditions, not gun laws, are the most important factors in a nation's crime rate. Young adults in Washington, D.C., are subject to strict gun control, but no social control, and they commit a staggering amount of armed crime. Young adults in Zurich are subject to minimal gun control, but strict social control, and they commit almost no crime.
America-with its traditions of individual liberty-cannot import Switzerland's culture of social control. Teenagers, women, and almost everyone else have more freedom in America than in Switzerland.
What America can learn from Switzerland is that the best way to reduce gun misuse is to promote responsible gun ownership. While America cannot adopt the Swiss model, America can foster responsible gun ownership along more individualistic, American lines. Firearms safety classes in elementary schools, optional marksmanship classes in high schools and colleges, and the widespread availability of adult safety training at licensed shooting ranges are some of the ways that America can make its tradition of responsible gun use even stronger.
Single Mother Households
On average, over nine of ten persons
lived togetherwith both parents during their childhood, i.e. to the age of 15 years. This percentage decreased for recent classes, however: nearly 16% born between 1970 and 1974 who were surveyed experienced the separation of their parents before 20, compared to 6% of the women who were born between 1945 and 1949. These numbers reflect the relatively strong increase in partnerships dissolved by divorce beginning with the marriage class of 1955.
When men and women of recent generations first leave their parents' house clearly takes place later. More than 60% of the women born before 1965 had left their parents' house before reaching age 20, compared to 46% between 1970 and of the 1974. Men usually leave their parents' house later than women, which is reflected in the median disparity in age of approximately two years. The percentage of men leaving their parents' house before reaching age 20 in the most recent Geburtsjahrg�ngen (1970-74) is less than a quarter [compared to 55% in 1945-49].
Altogether 74% of the women and 70% of the men surveyed lived together with their husband or wife, whereas 16% and/or 18% were not married. Approximately half of the persons surveyed (52% of the women and 48.5% of the men) lived in a traditional family, i.e. lived together as man and wife with one or more children. Of these, almost 96% were married.
The persons surveyed were selected depending upon age and their personal history at different times of their family and reproductive life. The following situations are to be differentiated:
Persons, who live still in the parents' house. This involves mainly younger people: 36% the 20-24 year old women and 58% of the men the same age group are in this situation;
However-living persons: These are to be found mainly under the 20-29-j�hrigen Mrs. (16%) and under the 25-29-j�hrigen men (19%);
Persons, who - whether married or not - lives in a partner relationship without children. Particularly frequently this comes with women and men above the age of 25-29 year old (37% in both cases);
Persons, who - usually married - live in a partner relationship with one or more children. This is the dominant factor way of life of the 30 year old and older: Approximately 70% of the men and women surveyed who were 35-39 years old at the time of the data collection were in this situation, and 66% were married;
Persons without partners but live with one or more children (a parents families). These are mainly 35 year old and older women. A tenth of the women at age 40-44 years lived alone with one or more children. Most alone-educating women are divorced.
Interactive Data Selection - Results
Downloadable table in CSV / Excel format: 623460.CSV
|Variable:||SC01Q01||School location - Q1 |
| ||Full question:||Which of the following best describes the community in which your school is located? |
|Category:||1||A <village, hamlet or rural area> (fewer than 3 000 people) |
| ||2||A <small town> (3 000 to about 15 000 people) |
| ||3||A <town> (15 000 to about 100 000 people) |
| ||4||A <city> (100 000 to about 1 000 000 people) |
| ||5||Close to the centre of a <city> with over 1 000 000 people |
| ||6||Elsewhere in a <city> with over 1 000 000 people |
|Switzerland ||SC01Q01 ||1||13.24||(2.66)||471||(9.62)||513||(9.78)||477||(10.87)|
|Switzerland ||SC01Q01 ||2||44.81||(3.44)||488||(6.05)||523||(6.11)||490||(6.08)|
|Switzerland ||SC01Q01 ||3||25.03||(3.40)||504||(11.59)||536||(11.34)||503||(12.19)|
|Switzerland ||SC01Q01 ||4||16.52||(2.83)||512||(16.44)||544||(14.48)||511||(17.97)|
|Switzerland ||SC01Q01 ||5||a ||(a )||a ||(a )||a ||(a )||a ||(a )|
|Switzerland ||SC01Q01 ||6||a ||(a )||a ||(a )||a ||(a )||a ||(a )|
|Switzerland ||SC01Q01 ||8||0.40||(c )||c ||(c )||c ||(c )||c ||(c )|
|OECD Total||SC01Q01 ||1||6.03||(0.63)||456||(7.00)||452||(7.66)||458||(5.94)|
|OECD Total||SC01Q01 ||2||19.35||(1.26)||480||(4.99)||477||(4.96)||485||(4.89)|
|OECD Total||SC01Q01 ||3||31.10||(1.47)||505||(2.91)||502||(3.32)||506||(3.15)|
|OECD Total||SC01Q01 ||4||23.55||(1.41)||508||(3.37)||509||(3.76)||516||(3.51)|
|OECD Total||SC01Q01 ||5||5.57||(0.58)||507||(8.57)||507||(11.59)||512||(10.12)|
|OECD Total||SC01Q01 ||6||6.71||(0.65)||505||(5.06)||504||(6.52)||511||(6.03)|
|OECD Total||SC01Q01 ||8||7.69||(1.45)||502||(13.64)||500||(14.49)||497||(14.19)|
|OECD Average||SC01Q01 ||1||10.10||(0.42)||487||(2.90)||487||(2.88)||485||(2.84)|
|OECD Average||SC01Q01 ||2||22.31||(0.56)||486||(1.81)||487||(1.95)||488||(1.70)|
|OECD Average||SC01Q01 ||3||31.88||(0.66)||501||(1.66)||499||(1.79)||500||(1.75)|
|OECD Average||SC01Q01 ||4||20.32||(0.59)||504||(2.16)||504||(2.36)||506||(2.31)|
|OECD Average||SC01Q01 ||5||6.41||(0.38)||522||(3.51)||520||(4.17)||520||(3.72)|
|OECD Average||SC01Q01 ||6||7.23||(0.40)||510||(3.75)||510||(4.29)||514||(3.76)|
|OECD Average||SC01Q01 ||8||1.74||(0.27)||499||(11.01)||500||(11.07)||496||(11.34)|
a - The category does not apply in the country concerned. Data therefore missing
c - There are too few observations to provide reliable estimates
OECD Average - (country average) - mean data for all OECD countries - each country contributes equally to the average.
OECD Total - (OECD as single entity) - each country contributes in proportion to the number of 15-year-olds enrolled in its schools.
Downloadable table in CSV / Excel format: 623461.CSV
|Variable:||ST16Q01||Country of birth, self - Q16a |
| ||Full question:||In what country were you and your parents born? You |
|Category:||1||<Country of Test> |
| ||2||Another Country |
|Switzerland ||ST16Q01 ||1||85.05||(0.69)||508||(4.15)||542||(4.26)||507||(4.58)|
|Switzerland ||ST16Q01 ||2||13.95||(0.67)||420||(6.65)||460||(7.70)||429||(8.13)|
|Switzerland ||ST16Q01 ||8||1.01||(0.15)||416||(20.41)||c ||(c )||c ||(c )|
|OECD Total||ST16Q01 ||1||91.92||(0.62)||502||(2.05)||499||(2.22)||503||(2.13)|
|OECD Total||ST16Q01 ||2||5.15||(0.28)||461||(4.34)||459||(5.15)||463||(5.32)|
|OECD Total||ST16Q01 ||8||2.92||(0.56)||466||(14.43)||463||(15.56)||473||(13.92)|
|OECD Average||ST16Q01 ||1||92.30||(0.18)||504||(0.63)||502||(0.72)||502||(0.65)|
|OECD Average||ST16Q01 ||2||6.51||(0.12)||461||(2.19)||469||(2.79)||458||(2.57)|
|OECD Average||ST16Q01 ||8||1.19||(0.12)||430||(9.73)||434||(11.60)||438||(9.87)|
a - The category does not apply in the country concerned. Data therefore missing
c - There are too few observations to provide reliable estimates
OECD Average - (country average) - mean data for all OECD countries - each country contributes equally to the average.
OECD Total - (OECD as single entity) - each country contributes in proportion to the number of 15-year-olds enrolled in its schools.
Demographics of Switzerland
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Switzerland, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
Switzerland sits at the crossroads of several major European cultures, which have heavily influenced the country's languages and cultural practices. Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian (three Confederation official languages), and Romansh (official only in the Grisons). The German spoken in the German speaking part of Switzerland is predominantly a range of Swiss dialects, but newspapers and some broadcasts use Swiss Standard German. 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.
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.
Total of registered residents (numbers relate to 31 December):
|2007||7,593,500||3,727,000 (49.1% )||3,866,500 (50.9% )||5,991,400 (78.9% )||1,602,100 (21.1% )|
|2006||7,508,700||3,679,400 (49.0% )||3,829,400 (51.0% )||5,954,200 (79.3% )||1,554,500 (20.7% )|
|2005||7,459,100||3,652,500 (49.0% )||3,806,600 (51.0% )||5,917,200 (79.3% )||1,541,900 (20.7% )|
|2004||7,415,100||3,628,700 (48.9% )||3,786,400 (51.1% )||5,890,400 (79.4% )||1,524,700 (20.6% )|
|2003||7,364,100||3,601,500 (48.9% )||3,762,600 (51.1% )||5,863,200 (79.6% )||1,500,900 (20.4% )|
|2002||7,313,900||3,575,000 (48.9% )||3,738,800 (51.1% )||5,836,900 (79.8% )||1,477,000 (20.2% )|
|2001||7,255,700||3,544,300 (48.8% )||3,711,300 (51.2% )||5,808,100 (80.0% )||1,447,600 (20.0% )|
|2000||7,204,100||3,519,700 (48.9% )||3,684,400 (51.1% )||5,779,700 (80.2% )||1,424,400 (19.8% )|
|1990||6,750,700||3,298,300 (48.9% )||3,452,400 (51.1% )||5,623,600 (83.3% )||1,127,100 (16.7% )|
|1980||6,335,200||3,082,000 (48.6% )||3,253,300 (51.4% )||5,421,700 (85.6% )||913,500 (14.4% )|
|1970||6,193,100||3,025,300 (48.8% )||3,167,700 (51.1% )||5,191,200 (83.8% )||1,001,900 (16.2% )|
|1960-1970||5,429,061||-||-||-||- (10,8% )|
|1950-1960||4,714,992||-||-||-||- (6,1% )|
|1941-1950||4,265,703||-||-||-||- (5,2% )|
|1930-1941||4,066,400||-||-||-||- (8,7% )|
|1920-1930||3,880,320||-||-||-||- (10,4% )|
|1910-1920||3,753,293||-||-||-||- (14,7% )|
|1900-1910||3,315,443||-||-||-||- (11,6% )|
|1888-1900||2,917,754||-||-||-||- (7,8% )|
|1880-1888||2,831,787||-||-||-||- (7,4% )|
|1870-1880||2,655,001||-||-||-||- (5,7% )|
|1860-1870||2,510,494||-||-||-||- (4,6% )|
|1850-1860||2,392,740||-||-||-||- (2,9% )|
|1837-1850||2,190,258||-||-||-||- (- )|
|1798-1837||1,664,832||-||-||-||- (- )|
 Growth rate
During the 19th and 20th centuries, population growth rate has been at 0.7% to 0.8%, with a doubling time of ca. 90 years. In the later 20th century, the growth rate has fallen below 0.7% (1980s: 0.64%; 1990s: 0.65%), and in the 2000s it has risen again slightly (2000�2006: 0.69%), mostly due to immigration. In 2007 the population grew at a much higher 1.1% rate, again mostly due to immigration.
- 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.)
- Infant mortality rate: 4.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate
- 1.46 children born/woman (total)
- 1.33 children born/Swiss woman
- 1.86 children born/non-Swiss woman
 Age structure
|age||total(in thousands)||percent||Swiss (in thousands)||foreign (in thousands)|
Data: Swiss Federal Statistics Office
As population growth curbs, the percentage of elderly people increases. In July 2006, the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics published a projection estimating that by 2050, one in three adult Swiss will be of retirement age (as opposed to one in five in 2005). Total population was projected to stagnate in 2036 at around 8.1 million and fall slightly to 8 million in 2050. The predicted age structure for 2050 is:
- 0-20 years: 1,4 million (18%)
- 20-64 years: 4,4 million (55%)
- 65 and over: 2,2 million (27%)
 Sex ratio
|age||males (in thousands)||females (in thousands)||ratio (male/female)|
Data: Swiss Federal Statistics Office  2007
 Life expectancy at birth
According to statistics released by the federal government in 2007, life expectancy stands at 79.4 years for men and 84.2 years for women, for an overall average of 81.8 years for the populace as a whole.
The number of registered resident foreigners was 1,001,887 (16.17%) in 1970. This amount decreased to 904,337 (14.34%) in 1979, and has increased steadily since that time, passing the 20% mark during 2001 and rising to 1,524,663 (20.56%) in 2004. The number of Swiss citizens thus numbered about 5.9 million in that year.
In 2007, 1.45 million resident foreigners (85.4%, or 19.1% of the total population), had European citizenship (Italian: 295,507; German: 224,324; citizens of Serbia and Montenegro: 196,078; Portuguese: 193,299; French: 83,129; Turkish: 75,382; Spanish: 66,519, Macedonian: 60,509; Bosnian: 41,654; Croatian: 38,144; Austrian: 36,155; British: 32,207). ; 109,113 residents were from Asia; 69,010 from the Americas; 66,599 from Africa; and 3,777 from Oceania.
In 2004, 35,700 people acquired Swiss citizenship according to Swiss nationality law, a figure slightly larger than that of the previous year (35,424), and four times larger than the 1990 figure (8,658). About a third of those naturalized are from a successor state of Former Yugoslavia: 7,900 Serbia-Montenegro, 2,400 Bosnia-Herzegowina, 2,000 Macedonia, 1,600 Croatia. 4,200 were from Italy, 3,600 from Turkey, 1,600 from Sri Lanka, 1,200 from Portugal, and 1,200 from France.
In recent decades, many Portuguese and Ukrainians from the Ukraine represent large immigrant communities in the country. Tamil refugees fleeing from war in Sri Lanka are the largest number of Asians, while ethnic Albanians and other former Yugoslavians continue to grow in number. Switzerland is also the second largest European country in number of acceptance of Iraqi refugees fleeing from the U.S. occupation of Iraq since 2003, but behind Great Britain, Germany and Sweden in the number of Iraqis taken residence for a European country.
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). (see Swiss diaspora).
In 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. 310,800 (4.3%) were Muslim (compared to 0.9% in 1980), 17,900 (0.2%) were Jewish. These numbers are based on membership in a congregation, not on direct statements of belief. The 2005 Eurobarometer poll found 48% of Swiss residents to be theist, 39% expressing belief in "some sort of spirit or life force", 9% atheist and 4% agnostic.
The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. Native speakers number about 64% (4.6 million) for German (mostly Swiss German dialects), 20% (1.5 million, mostly Swiss French, but including some Franco-Proven�al dialects) for French, 7% (0.5 million, mostly Swiss Italian, but including Insubric dialects) for Italian and less than 0.5% (35,000) for Romansh.
The Cantons of Fribourg, Berne, Valais and Grisons are officially bi- or trilingual (Grisons). In fact, Jura and Ticino are also bilingual, but the traditional German minority is very small.
The non-official language with the largest group of native speakers is Serbo-Croatian with 103,000 speakers in 2000, followed by Albanian with 95,000, Portuguese with 89,500, Spanish with 77,500, English with 73,000, Macedonian 61,300, and a total of 173,000 speakers of other languages, amounting to roughly 10% of the population with a native language not among the four official languages.
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. According to the CIA World Factbook data for 2003, 99% of the Swiss population aged 15 and over could read and write, with the rate being identical for both 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.