Is Switzerland crowded compared to other countries?

The population of Switzerland has tripled in the past 150 years, and a quarter of the people who live here are foreigners. Fear of overpopulation became a popular tool for efforts to limit immigration, ever since the 1960s. Just how densely populated is the country compared to its neighbours?

This content was published on May 5, 2017 - 15:00

The map below represents population density in Europe. It is based on the European Union's detailed population gridExternal link. Population was measured on a constant 1-kilometre grid, rather than administrative borders, to enable a comparison of population density across Europe. 

The data shows how Swiss urban areas compare with the rest of Europe. Zurich and Geneva might be internationally known, but their agglomerations are not large or densely populated by European standards.

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With the interactive version of this same map, below, the precise values for each country can be explored.

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It should be noted that a quarter of Switzerland's area, including the Alps and bodies of water, are unproductive, meaning they are unsuitable for settlements, farming or other basic human uses. As a result, the population densities between the Alps and lower-lying areas vary widely.

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