Town and country

Switzerland’s population is predominantly urban, with three-quarters living in towns and cities.

City sign on the edge of the city of Bern
The boundary of Bern - about 3.5 kilometres, or just over two miles, from the heart of the state, the parliament buildings. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

Average population density in Switzerland is 208 inhabitants per km2. However, the country’s topography means that population distribution is uneven. Most people live on the Swiss Plateau. 

The majority of people in Switzerland live in urban areas. Some 85% of the population live in or on the outskirts of a town or city. Only 16% live in more rural areas. Nearly 40% of people live in one of the country's five biggest conurbations (Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne). 

Since the 1960s population growth has been concentrated in Switzerland’s smaller urban centres and the outlying areas of Switzerland's five conurbations.