Spatial divisions

Frequently, relationships or structures can be identified through statistical analysis based on regional differences. As well as considering variables at national level, therefore, it is also interesting to observe how these change, for example in the cantons or agglomerations. Spatial analyses and representations are based on various territorial divisions, each having their own utility depending on the topics covered or questions asked.

The FSO provides different spatial divisions defined at municipal level. These are grouped as follows:

Institutional spatial divisions

municipalities, districts, cantons.

Analysis regions

These were created to understand certain spatial or regional phenomena that could not be satisfactorily observed using the spatial divisions at institutional or regional policy level. They are defined at municipal level and updated every year depending on changes in the municipalities.

Spatial divisions available:

  • Major regions
  • Agglomerations 2012
  • Language regions
  • Labour market areas and large labour market areas (formerly known as SM regions and labour market areas)
  • Mountain regions
  • Metropolitan areas

Territorial typologies

A spatial typology groups together geographical units similar in structure (e.g. municipalities or regions) according to specific criteria or characteristics. Geographical units of the same type are therefore as similar as possible to one another and differ as much as possible from the other unit types in the typology. Geographical units of the same type are not necessarily adjacent to one another.

Spatial divisions available:

  • Areas with urban character 2012
  • Statistical cities
  • Typology of municipalities 2012
  • Urban-rural typology 2012

International definitions

Switzerland takes part in the work carried out by Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). In order to ensure data comparability between countries and to provide a joint basis for analysis at international level, these organisations have developed several definitions

Spatial divisions available:

  • DEGURBA (Degree of urbanisation)
  • Greater cities
  • FUA (Functional urban areas)

Information about the international definitions can also be found on the following pages of the City statistics project: International comparison and International perimeters.

Under "Further information" you will find the different explanatory documents and publications available in English. Other documents and maps are available in French and German.

Further information


The allocation of municipalities to the various spatial divisions as of 1.1.1930 is available in the Swiss municipalities application (available in French, German and Italian). This application allows you to query the database of the historical list of municipalities.



Press Releases

Statistical sources and concepts


Federal Statistical Office Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel