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Country Profile of Switzerland

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Swiss Federal Statistical Office
Web address
Position in the government
The Statistical Office reports to the Federal Council (government) and more particularly the Ministry for the Interior.
Organizational structure and finance
Director General - The Director General of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO) is responsible for Swiss statistics.

Resources and Logistics
Statistical Infrastructure
Population Studies and Household Surveys
Business Surveys
Economics, Government and Social Issues
Spatial statistics and Sustainability
Multi-annual or annual work program
A 4-year program approved by the Federal Council (government) and transmitted for information to the Parliament.
Main duties
The OFS is the center of the statistical system of Switzerland.

The OFS is the national service and competence center for statistical observation of the state and the community, economy and environment.

The OFS is the most important statistics producer of the country. It makes statistics available in almost all areas of official statistics, while organising and executing surveys among natural or legal entities and using administrative data or integrating information from different sources. By using innovative methods the OFS works on better use of government registrations. In doing so, it helps reducing the reporting burden and government efficiency in general.

The OFS analyses. interprets and published statistical information, providing a basis for policy making, forecasting and decision making. It creates insights in complex questions and makes these more transparent, fostering democratic debate.

The OFS respects important professional principles, including the protection of confidentiality, the use of scientific methods, professional independence, timeliness, and service-orientedness. This guarantees public credibility, both with data providers and users of statistics.

Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
With the founding of the Swiss Federal State in 1848, statistics gained in importance at national level becoming the task of the Department of the Interior under Stefano Franscini who conducted the first population census in the newly founded federal State.
1860 saw the foundation of the Federal Statistical Bureau, the forerunner of the present Federal Statistical Office. The law on conducting population censuses every ten years was passed in the same year.
On 23 July 1870, Parliament approved a brief law confined to organizational issues about “official statistical surveys in Switzerland”.
The Law of 1870 resulted in the non-standardized, unsystematic development of statistics, with the setting up of statistical units in various government offices.
1891: first edition of the Swiss Statistical Yearbook, issued by the Federal Statistical Office, a series which has been continued without interruption up to the present day.
1987 and 1996: the Federal Statistical Office makes key statistical information available electronically online (STATINF database and website).
1992: The Federal Statistical Act of 9 October 1992 replaced the 1870 Law, laying a modern foundation for Swiss statistics.
1998: the Federal Statistical Office moved from Berne to Neuchâtel.
1999: For the first time, the new federal constitution dating from 18 April 1999 includes an article regarding statistics.
2000: E-census: as a worldwide pioneer, the SFSO census form can be filled out on the Internet.

Legal basis
Legal basis
The compilation and publication of statistical data are governed by the Federal Law on Statistics (10/9/92) and the Federal Law on Data Protection (06/19/92).

Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
Other federal organizations, the Swiss National Bank as well as cantonal and regional statistical offices.

Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
The Federal Statistics Commission is a commission established by the Federal Council (government) where the principal users of official statistics on the federal level are represented

Data collection
Most recent population census
5 December 2000
Access to administrative data
Not in a systematic manner, but in all the fields that meet a statistical need on the basis of a mutual agreement
Data confidentiality
Data confidentiality is governed by the Federal Law on Data Protection (06/19/92).

Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
On an annual base and it is being updated regularly on the website.
Main publications
A catalogue of products and services is available on the website.

Since 1891, the "Statistische Jahrbuch der Schweiz" (Statistical Yearbook of Switzerland) is the main source of statistical information about the country. Nowadays ta CD-Rom version is also available. In addition, there is a yearbook of regional statistics: "Regione und Städte der Schweiz".

The series "Statistik der Schweiz" includes statistical publications in all of the 22 subject amtter areas of Swiss federal statistics.

Many statistics are also available on-line or on CD-Rom.
Languages of main publications
German, French, Italian, and some in English.
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
Many different formats.
Availability of microdata for research purposes
In all the cases the micro data are delivered to authorized users on the basis of a contract of data protection provided for by the statistical law.

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