Living in Switzerland For Members

Pigs, jobs and money: What the new data reveals about Switzerland

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Pigs, jobs and money: What the new data reveals about Switzerland
Who knew — pigs outnumber cows in Switzerland. Image by Roy Buri from Pixabay

Even if you have been living in Switzerland for a while, there are still some interesting things to learn about the country.


Yes, there are chocolate, cheese, and cows, but they only partly represent what Switzerland is all about — not even if you throw watches, banks, and army knives into the mix.

But new data released by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) on Friday completes that picture with some interesting facts and figures about the country.

Here are some of them.

Life expectancy at birth

Switzerland is known to have one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates, and the study confirms that: 85.4 years for women and 81.6 years for men.

Demographers attribute this longevity to factors like good access and quality of healthcare, along with generally high standard of living.

READ ALSO: The reasons why living in Switzerland can prolong your life 


Switzerland has been experiencing higher immigration, with the population expected to reach the 10-million mark within the next few years.

Out of the 5.2-million-strong workforce, 1.7 million are foreign nationals: 78.3 are permanent residents, and  the remaining 21.7 percent are cross-border commuters.
FSO also found that 45 percent work in or around just five cities: Zurich, Basel, Bern, Geneva, and Lausanne.



The country boasts one of the world’s strongest and most prosperous economies.

According to FSO’s latest findings, Switzerland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — the total value of goods and services provided in a country during one year — amounts to 781,460 million francs.

This translates to 88,717 francs per inhabitant.

Cattle (yes, you heard it right, cattle)

Switzerland has just over 1.5 million head of cattle.

You might think that cows constitute the majority but no — the pigs do.

Roughly 1.3 million pigs live in Switzerland and ‘only’ 670,000 cows (no data is available for goats).

However, cows have an edge over pigs in at least one area: they have names, with Fiona, Diana, Bella, Bianca, and Nina being the most popular. (For pigs, we only know of Babe). 

READ ALSO : Why are cows so important in Switzerland? 


The happiness factor

Nearly 70 percent of Switzerland’s population say that are happy and satisfied with their lives, while 3 percent are not (27 percent remain neutral on this issue).

Just over 8 percent of residents are classified as poor (so probably not happy) — that is, earning  less than 2,284 francs per month for an individual, and 4,010 per month per month for a family.

Thanks of Switzerland’s unique system of direct democracy, 666 referendums have been held since 1848 — the year the country’s constitution was created.

Half of those were held in the last 40 years.

Of the political parties, the Swiss People’s Party has the highest representation in the parliament (47.9 percent) and the Greens the lowest (9.8 percent).

Public spending

The government is spending just over 82 million a year, with the bulk of this money earmarked to fiancé the social security scheme, followed by public transport and education.

The least is spent on environmental protection.

Social security

Just over quarter million people in Switzerland — 256, 800 to be exact — receive social security payments; 27 percent of the GDP goes toward social welfare.

Of that, most (42 percent) is spent on pensions,  followed by healthcare (33 percent).


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