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The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.


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People And Society

Nationality
Noun Swiss (singular and plural)
Adjective Swiss

Ethnic groups
German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%

Languages
German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, Italian (official) 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2%, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 2.8% (2000 census)
Note
German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages

Religions
Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Muslim 4.3%, Orthodox 1.8%, other Christian 0.4%, other 1%, unspecified 4.3%, none 11.1% (2000 census)

Population World Ranking: 95
7,925,517 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
15.2% (male 602,894/female 560,175)
15-64 years
67.8% (male 2,612,557/female 2,569,318)
65 years and over
17% (male 543,074/female 751,943) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 42 years
Male 40.9 years
Female 43.1 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 176
0.199% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 199
9.51 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 74
8.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 47
1.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urbanization
Urban population 74% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
Zurich 1.143 million; BERN (capital) 346,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.73 male(s)/female
Total population
0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 160
8 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 200
Total 4.03 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 4.47 deaths/1,000 live births
Female
3.57 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 17
Total population 81.17 years
Male 78.34 years
Female 84.16 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 184
1.53 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 15
11.3% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
4.07 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density
5.31 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 72
0.4% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 80
18,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 134
Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 59
8.2% (2007)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 52
5.2% of GDP (2007)

Literacy
Definition
Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 99%
Male 99%
Female 99% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 16 years
Male 16 years
Female 15 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 113
Total 8.2%
Male 7.7%
Female 8.7% (2009)


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  Switzerland (Bern):


  GPS points from Switzerland (Bern)

Aarekanal Switzerland (general)

Lindau Switzerland (general)

Forel Switzerland (general)

Bietschhorn Switzerland (general)

Hornkessel Kanton Bern

L'allaine Riviere Switzerland (general)

Weissenstein Switzerland (general)

Meride Cantone Ticino




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