Principality of Liechtenstein
LOCATION AND SIZE.
The independent principality of Liechtenstein is located in central Europe and bordered on the east by Austria and on the south, west, and north by Switzerland. It is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a total area of only 160 square kilometers (62 square miles). Liechtenstein is about 25 kilometers (15.6 miles) long and 6 kilometers (3.75 miles) wide. Its total area is about 0.9 times the size of Washington, D.C. The western edge of the territory lies in the valley of the upper Rhine River and contains a narrow flat strip of arable land. The rest of the area consists of the foothills of the Alps, covered with forests and rising to several high and rugged peaks in the south. Along with Uzbekistan in Central Asia, Liechtenstein is one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world (bounded by other land-locked countries only). The capital and principal urban center, Vaduz, is a small town with a population of about 5,000 located in the west-central part of the country near the Rhine River.
The population of Liechtenstein was estimated at 32,207 in July of 2000; in 1998, it was 31,717. Although quite mountainous, Liechtenstein is densely populated, with an overall density of 198 persons per square kilometer (513 per square mile). The population is unevenly distributed and concentrated in the western, lower part of the country, along the Rhine. The principality has a population growth rate of 1.02 percent, with a birth rate of 11.83 births per 1,000 population. The death rate is 6.64 deaths per 1,000 population, and there is a high positive net migration rate of 5.03 immigrants per 1,000 population (all according to 2000 estimates).
Approximately one-third of the population are resident aliens, including Iranians, Turks, and others, while the vast majority of the Liechtenstein nationals are mostly of ethnic Germanic origin, like their neighbors in eastern Switzerland and western Austria. A south German dialect, Alemannish, is commonly spoken by some 87.5 percent of the population, while literary German is the official language of the country. In 2000, the labor force included 22,891 people, of which an astounding number of 13,847 were foreigners, mostly guest workers ; 8,231 people commuted from neighboring Austrian and Swiss towns to work daily. Unlike Switzerland, however, immigration does not seem to be a major issue in the domestic political debates in Liechtenstein (in 2000, the Swiss electorate had to vote in a referendum on a conservative proposal to impose an 18 percent quota on the number of foreign workers in the country but decided against).
Approximately 88 percent of the population are traditionally Roman Catholic. In 1991, primary (elementary and junior high) school enrollment in the principality totaled 1,985 children, and about 1,200 attended secondary (high) schools. Primary and secondary education is free in Liechtenstein and schooling is required for 8 years. The
Liechtenstein has no territories or colonies.
Swiss Franc (SFR). One SFr equals 100 centimes or rappen. There are notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 1,000 Swiss francs, and coins of 5, 10, 20, and 50 centimes and 1, 2, and 5 Swiss francs. The country maintains a monetary and customs union with Switzerland. The Liechtenstein monetary, fiscal, and banking systems can therefore be regarded as an extension of their Swiss counterparts.
Small specialty machinery, dental products, stamps, hardware, pottery.
Machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, fuels.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:
US$730 million (1998 est.).
BALANCE OF TRADE:
Exports: US$2.47 billion (1996 est.). Imports: US$917.3 million (1996 est.).