Religion – facts and figures

Switzerland is a predominantly Christian country. Catholics are the largest denomination, followed by Protestants.  Switzerland's religious landscape has changed considerably in the last few decades. The number of people with no religious affiliation has gone up, and there are also new communities that practice different faiths.

  • Freedom of religion in Switzerland is a fundamental right and is enshrined in the constitution.
  • 36% of the Swiss population are Roman Catholic, making it the largest denomination; this is followed by the Reformed Evangelical community, which makes up 24%. Except for the cantons of Geneva and Neuchâtel, all Swiss cantons have state-recognised religions including the two main Christian churches.
  • The 16th century Protestant Reformation in Europe spread from Geneva to French-speaking Switzerland and from Zurich to the German-speaking part.
  • Today, 25% of the Swiss population have no religious affiliation – compared to only 1% in 1970.
  • 5% of the Swiss population are Muslim, most of whom originate from the Balkans and Turkey and mainly live in the cities.
  • Other Christian denominations in Switzerland make up 6% of the population, of which the largest group at 2% are followers of the Orthodox Church.
  • 0.3% of the Swiss population are Jewish.  There are Jewish communities in around two dozen Swiss towns, with the cities of Geneva and Zurich home to the largest.
  • In the Vatican in Rome, the centre of the Catholic world, the Swiss Guard has protected the Pope and his palace for over 500 years.
  • Many of Switzerland's festivals, customs and local traditions have their roots in religion.