Switzerland, commonly known as Swiss Confederation, was established as a defensive grouping among three cantons in 1291. The country is located in Central Europe. A distinct feature that identifies it with other countries in Central Europe is the mountainous terrain. The three distinct mountains in the region are the Jura Mountains in the northwest, central plateau, and the Alps in the south.
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Switzerland lies to the east of France, north of Italy, south of Germany, and west of Austria. The total area covered by the country is 41,277 square kilometers. Land takes 39,997 sq. Km, while water covers 1,280 sq. Km. The land boundaries stretch for a total of 1,852 kilometers (Central Intelligence Agency 1).
Switzerland is a landlocked country. This implies that it does not have a coastline. The country has a temperate climate that often varies with the altitude. Due to the changing climate, there is a variety of vegetation that grows in different parts of the country.
The most common ones are alpine flowers, forests, tomatoes, vine, apricots, and scrubs. The most common types of animals that are found in the region are marmots, wild ibex, sparrows, chamois, birds, and swallows (Central Intelligence Agency 1).
The country is located at 470 North latitude and 80 East longitudes. The capital city of Switzerland is Bern. It is located 46’ 55 N and 7’ 28 E. The modern political history has resulted in the creation of administrative divisions that comprise of 26 cantons.
“The total population of Switzerland is 8,061,516” (Central Intelligence Agency 1). “The population growth rate is 0.78%, the birth rate is 10.48 births/1000 population, the death rate is 8.1 deaths/1000 population, while the migration rate is 5.43 migrants/1000 population” (Central Intelligence Agency 1).
The sex ratio of the population is 0.97 male/female. The population comprises of four main ethnic groups these are, “German (65%), French (18%), Italian (10%), Romansch (1%), and others (6%)” (Central Intelligence Agency 1). Further, the country has four official languages, these are, Italian (8.3%), French (22.6%), Romansch (0.5%), and German (64.9%).
Some of the other languages are Serbo-Croatian (2.5%), Albanian (2.6%), and Portuguese (3.4%) among others (Central Intelligence Agency 1). The composition of the population is shaped by immigrants from the European Union countries. The largest number of immigrants comprises of Italians followed by Germans. A similar pattern of immigrants is observed in other European countries.
The median age of the population is 42 years. 78.7% of the population are aged 25 years and above. The literacy level in Switzerland is 99%. This represents the proportion of the population that is aged 15 years and above who can read and write (European Commission 1).
The unemployment rate in the country is 2.9%. The citizens heavily rely on the service sector and the manufacturing industries. The primary economic activity in the country is agriculture. The citizens engage in the production of fruits, grains, vegetable, meat, and eggs. The secondary economic activities arise from established industries such as banking, insurance, tourism, machinery, chemicals, watches, and textile, among others.
These activities are located throughout the country (Marsh and Alagona, 211). Political stability, high technology, well-developed transport system, the transparent legal system, favorable tax rates, and efficient financial markets play a key role in the growth of the economy. However, the global financial crisis that affected the eurozone slowed down the speed of growth of the economic activities. It also led to a recession.
The unification process focused on issues such as the creation of a single market, common currency, united army, sovereignty, and religious liberality. The process resulted in peace and political stability. It also resulted in the rapid economic development of the country.
Further, the process allowed immigrants from other regions to settle in the country. This increased the population of immigrants. It also improved cultural diversity. However, in recent years, the unification process has been disadvantageous to the country. For instance, the Eurozone crisis affected the economic stability of the country adversely.
Central Intelligence Agency 2014, The World Factbook. Web. 04 Apr. 2014. <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sz.html>.
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European Commission 2014, Population and Population Changes Statistics. Web. 04 Apr. 2014. <http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Population_and_population_change_statistics>
Marsh, Meredith, and Peter Alagona. AP Human Geography, New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2008. Print.