Federal Office for statistics

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Federal Statistical Office FSO
"Corporate Design Federation" - logo of the federal authorities of the Swiss Confederation
Headquarters Neuchâtel
Chief Georges-Simon Ulrich
Deputy Ruth Meier
Employees 814
At sight Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA
Website www.bfs.admin.ch

The Federal Statistical Office ( FSO ; French Office fédéral de la statistique , OFS ; Italian Ufficio federale di statistica , UST ; Romansh Uffizi federal da statistica , UFS ) is the statistical office of Switzerland based in Neuchâtel . As a federal authority of the Swiss Confederation, it is assigned to the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA). The Federal Office is abbreviated Statistics Switzerland , Statistique suisse (French), Statistica svizzera (Italian) or Statistica Svizra (Rhaeto-Romanic).

The FSO is the service and competence center for nationwide statistical observation. It provides information in all thematic areas of public statistics.


Stefano Franscini, Head of the Interior Department (1848–1857)

With the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848, statistics gained in importance on the whole of Switzerland: Statistics became the task of the Department of the Interior  - this under Stefano Franscini , who carried out the first census in the newly founded federal state in 1850 .

The Federal Statistical Office was founded in 1860. Since 1998 the FSO has been centrally located under one roof in Neuchâtel .

In the year the FSO was founded, the law on censuses to be carried out every ten years was passed. Ten years later the legal situation was expanded: in 1870 Parliament passed a concise law on “official statistical recordings in Switzerland”, which was limited to organizational issues. This was replaced in 1992 by the more modern Federal Statistics Act. The new Federal Constitution of 1999 contains an article (Art. 65) on statistics for the first time. In 2002 the Swiss Public Statistics Charter was adopted . One of its objectives is to formulate generally applicable professional ethical principles that are based on international principles but take into account the special features of Switzerland's statistical system. The bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the European Community on cooperation in statistics came into force in 2007.

The Statistical Yearbook of Switzerland was first published in 1891 and has been published by the FSO without interruption ever since. The FSO has been making important statistical information electronically accessible online since 1987; in 1996 this service was expanded and the STATINF database and website were added.


The FSO produces and publishes important statistical information on the state and development of the state and society, the economy and the environment. It supplements these with comprehensive analyzes, creates scenarios for future developments and secures the historical database.

Various methods are used to collect data: direct surveys, more or less automated observation, evaluation of administrative data , full surveys and representative samples . The efficiency of modern statistical information systems is essentially determined by the type of data acquisition. For legal and financial reasons, the systematic use of existing data has priority over new direct surveys with a corresponding burden on the respondents.

The statistical results are disseminated in different forms and on different channels: as tables or indicators, provided with text comments or graphics and maps, as printed documents or in electronic form, as standard or tailored to special customer needs.

LIK, September 2010

Regular surveys by the FSO (selection):

Census (VZ)

The first federal census took place in March 1850 under the direction of Federal Councilor Stefano Franscini. In addition to the population survey, questions were asked about gender, age, marital status, occupation, trade and denomination of the inhabitants. Between 1860 and 2000, a census took place every ten years in December. This ten-year rhythm was only deviated from in the census of 1888 (preferred as the basis for the revision of the constituency division) and the census of 1941 (carried out later due to the mobilization of the army in May 1940). The census in 2000 was last carried out using the conventional method. A fundamental change will take place from 2010: the census will be carried out and evaluated annually and in a new form by the FSO. In order to relieve the population, the information is primarily taken from the residents' registers and supplemented with sample surveys. Now only a small part (approx. 5 percent) of the population is interviewed in writing or by telephone. The first cut-off date for the new census is December 31, 2010. The standardization, which was only made possible by the Register Harmonization Act, now not only allows data to be sent to the statistics department, but also allows electronic data exchange between the federal, cantonal and communal registers concerned . In order to be able to guarantee this system conversion, the BFS cooperated with the SAS Institute to create a comprehensive harmonization of the software systems and databases. The result of the change is now lower costs, reduced workload and more efficient census execution. All results are now available within a year, while in the old system it took more than two years.

Legal basis

Public statistics are based on the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation . On April 18, 1999, the Swiss people adopted the total revision of the constitution, which now contains the statistical article (Art. 65) on the mission and competencies of statistics:

  1. The federal government collects the necessary statistical data on the state and development of the population, economy, society, education, research, space and the environment in Switzerland.
  2. It can enact regulations on the harmonization and management of official registers in order to keep the collection effort as low as possible.

The legal basis of public statistics in Switzerland is regulated in more detail in advance in the Federal Statistics Act of 9 October 1992. The Federal Statistics Act is a framework law. It formulates the tasks and the organization of federal statistics as well as the basics of data acquisition, publications and services. In particular, it describes the principles of data protection. Important new points in the 1992 law are the coordination function of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) as the central statistical office in the Confederation, the creation of a multi-year statistical program for the overall planning of Swiss statistics and the appointment of the Federal Statistics Commission as an advisory body to the Federal Council (with representatives from science , Private sector, social partners, administrative units of the federal government, cantons and communes).

Information offer

Cover sheet of the 2010 Statistical Yearbook

The information offered by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) includes:

  • the statistics portal on the Internet
  • Publications
  • spatial evaluations in a geographic information system (GIS)
  • thematic cartography (e.g. Political Atlas of Switzerland )
  • a telephone information service and a fax on demand around the clock ( national index of consumer prices )
  • a publicly accessible information center (Espace public) in Neuchâtel with a library and electronic information
  • a specialized offer for school lessons with graphics and teaching aids (forum school)

The statistics portal enables important statistical results to be published quickly. New data is published every day. Links and downloads lead directly to the content. The portal makes it possible to subscribe to notices of new statistical results and activities via web feed and thus to be always up to date.

As far as publications are concerned, the Statistical Yearbook published by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has been the standard work of Swiss statistics since 1891. It summarizes the most important statistical results on the country's population, society, state, economy and environment. In addition to the yearbook, many other printed publications of the FSO appear monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and annually. The Statistical Lexicon of Switzerland offers a collection of files for downloading: Here you can find tables, graphics, maps, texts and entire publications on all subject areas of statistics. Information is available on certain topics and for specific target groups in the form of special applications, databases and file collections. Some of these are chargeable.

In terms of content, the information offered by the federal statistics is divided into 22 chapters, which cover five subject areas with different aspects. This includes work, society, living space, politics, social affairs and the economy. Specifically, the areas contain the following chapters (BFS chapter number prefixed):

  • 00 Basics and overviews
  • Population and social affairs
    • 01 population
    • 13 Social Security
    • 14 health
    • 20 Economic and social situation of the population
  • Living space and infrastructure
    • 02 space, environment
    • 08 energy
    • 09 Construction and housing
    • 11 Mobility and Transport
    • 21 Sustainable development
  • Society and politics
    • 15 Education, Science
    • 16 Culture, media, information society, sport
    • 17 Politics
    • 19 crime, criminal law
  • Work and industries
    • 03 Work and income
    • 06 Industry, services
    • 07 Agriculture and forestry
    • 10 tourism
  • Economy and finance
    • 04 Economics
    • 05 prices
    • 12 Money, Banks, Insurance
    • 18 Public administration and finance

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Organization of the FSO Website of the Federal Statistical Office. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  2. Swiss Public Statistics Charter
  3. FSO (Ed.): The new population census, Neuchâtel 2010 (PDF 1.15 MB)
  4. Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, Art. 65 Statistics SR 101
  5. Federal Statistics Act of October 9, 1992 (BStatG) SR 431.01
  6. ^ FSO - Topics
  7. FSO - Topic 00 Basics and Overviews
  8. FSO - Topic 1 Population
  9. FSO - Topic 13 Social Security
  10. FSO - Topic 14 Health
  11. FSO - Topic 20 Economic and social situation of the population
  12. FSO - Topic 2 Space, Environment
  13. FSO - Topic 8 Energy
  14. FSO - Topic 9 Construction and Housing
  15. FSO - Topic 11 Mobility and Transport
  16. FSO - Topic 21 Sustainable Development
  17. FSO - Topic 15 Education, Science
  18. FSO - Topic 16 Culture, Media, Information Society, Sport
  19. FSO - Topic 17 Politics
  20. FSO - Topic 19 Crime, Criminal Law
  21. FSO - Topic 3 Work and Income
  22. FSO - Topic 6 Industry, Services
  23. FSO - Topic 7 Agriculture and Forestry
  24. FSO - Topic 10 Tourism
  25. FSO - Topic 4 Economics
  26. FSO - Topic 5 Prices
  27. FSO - Topic 12 Money, Banks, Insurance
  28. ^ FSO - Topic 18 Public administration and finance

Coordinates: 46 ° 59 '49.3 "  N , 6 ° 56' 16.5"  E ; CH1903:  561916  /  205230