Urban and rural areas

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

The city of Zurich with Lake Zurich and the Alps in the background.
A view from the city to the sparsely populated mountain areas: Zurich and its lake against the backdrop of the Alps. © Zürich Tourismus, CC BY 2.0, Zürich General View

Switzerland has an average population density of 215 inhabitants per km2. However, large parts of the country are mountainous. As a result, the majority of the population lives in the densely populated Central Plateau. The Central Plateau is the relatively flat, fertile area between the Jura mountain range and the Alps, stretching from Lake Geneva to Lake Constance. Here the population density is over 400 per km2.

There are no large cities in Switzerland with more than one million inhabitants, but most people live in urban areas, with the vast majority of the population living in the city centres and their surrounding areas. Almost half of the total population lives in Switzerland's largest conurbations: Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne.