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The people of Switzerland


Switzerland has a population of about 7.78 million.Foreigners account for around 22% of the resident population.


The average age is increasing, as people live longer and have fewer children. Lifestyles are changing as the Swiss adapt to new demands.

Religious belief has declined in recent years, but the religious landscape has diversified.

Switzerland has four unevenly distributed languages and a wealth of dialects.

Language distribution

Switzerland has four national languages, but they vary greatly in the number of speakers.


German is by far the most widely spoken language in Switzerland: 19 of the country’s 26 cantons are predominantly (Swiss) German-speaking.


French is spoken in the western part of the country, the "Suisse Romande." Four cantons are French-speaking: Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel and Vaud. Three cantons are bilingual: in Bern, Fribourg and Valais both French and German are spoken.


Italian is spoken in Ticino and four southern valleys of Canton Graubünden.

Rhaeto-Rumantsch (Rumantsch)

Rumantsch is spoken in the only trilingual canton, Graubünden. The other two languages spoken there are German and Italian. Rumantsch, like Italian and French, is a language with Latin roots. It is spoken by just 0.5% of the total Swiss population.

Other languages

The many foreigners resident in Switzerland have brought with them their own languages, which taken as a whole now outnumber both Rumantsch and Italian.

The 2000 census showed that speakers of Serbian/Croatian were the largest foreign language group, with 1.4% of the population.English was the main language for 1%.

Languages in Switzerland

German 63.7%
French 20.4%
Italian 6.5%
Rumantsch 0.5%
Other 9 %