Historical Atlas of the Federal Population Census

Historical Atlas of the Federal Population Census


The historical atlas of federal population censuses contains a selection of statistical maps produced from federal population census data taken from the federal censuses carried out from 1850 until 2000. From an undertaking to digitalise historical data that previously only existed in analogue form, a project evolved to produce an electronic publication that would make the most of this newly available data.  Adopting a narrative approach, the publication “(Re)counting Switzerland” ("Die Schweiz (er)zählen") presents developments in Swiss society from the middle of the 19th century up until today across a selection of different themes. Richly illustrated and with numerous visualisations, the maps are presented in the atlas in interactive form and with complete time series. The geographic level of the maps is the communes (as they were at the time of the censuses) thus offering unprecedented resolution for observing the structures, dynamics and developments in Switzerland since 1850 through official statistics.

Content and summary

The atlas follows the same structure as the “(Re)counting Switzerland” publication, divided into four chapters. The first contains maps showing the demographic structure of Switzerland by sex and age. The second chapter shows the change in the percentage of foreign nationals in the population. The third chapter focuses on the theme of religion. The last and fourth chapter shows Switzerland’s linguistic landscape.

Important note

The federal censuses were conducted every ten years from 1850 to 2000. To bring the publication and atlas right up to date, more recent maps are shown in the time series using data from two additional surveys (STATPOP and the structural survey). Various standardisations and simplifications have been carried out to be able to present these time series. The methodological framework conditions can be consulted here:


Federal Statistical Office Service ThemaKart
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