Liechtenstein is a sovereign state located in the Alpine region of Central Europe. Officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, the country is governed as a constitutional monarchy that is headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein. It is the fourth-smallest country in Europe, encompassing an area of appropriately 62 sq mi, and the smallest state bordering two countries. Additionally, Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan are the only doubly landlocked countries in the world. The country has one of the highest gross domestic products (GDP) per capita in the world and was once known as a haven for billionaires evading taxes, although the state has since mended its image by adopting policies to combat tax evasion and money laundering. Although not a member of the European Union (EU), the country is a member of the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe (CoE), European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the Schengen Area. Liechtenstein also has a joint monetary and customs union with Switzerland.
Liechtenstein is a relatively small country in terms of both size and population, with an area of approximately 62 sq mi and an estimated population of 38,100. The country is subdivided into 11 municipalities, the largest of which is Schaan, while Vaduz is the capital. Two-thirds (66%) of the population were born in Liechtenstein and identify as Liechtensteiners, while approximately one-fifth (19%) is made up of citizens from other German-speaking countries including Switzerland (9.7%), Austria (5.8%), and Germany (3.9%). The remainder of the population are foreign-born who originate from over 85 different countries around the world. The life expectancy in Liechtenstein is 79.5 years for men and 82.4 years for women. The country has an annual population growth of about 300 people, which includes both natural population increases and citizenship awarded to foreigners. There are about 10,500 buildings and nearly 16,000 households. Additionally, approximately 3,600 Liechtensteiners live outside the country.
German is the official language of Liechtenstein, and most of the population speak an Alemannic dialect of German. This dialect is different from Standard German, but similar to dialects spoken in neighboring parts of Switzerland and Austria. Walser German is spoken and promoted in the municipality of Triesenberg, and Standard Swiss German is spoken and understood by most Liechtensteiners.
The Constitution of Liechtenstein states that Roman Catholicism is the official state religion. While the Constitution specifies that the Catholic Church will receive full protection from the state, Liechtenstein protects worshippers of all religions. Additionally, reforms to separate the relationship between the Catholic Church and the government have been supported by the current Prince of Liechtenstein. About 80% of the population are Roman Catholic, 8.5% are Protestant or other Christian denominations and 5% are Muslim.
Housing and Transportation
Liechtenstein is an industrialized state with one of the highest living standards in the world. Most people own single-family homes, but apartments are gaining popularity among the younger generation who cannot afford to build or buy houses. Private vehicles are the primary mode of transportation, which is both a factor the population's ability to afford vehicles and the low population that reduces the need for mass transit. A primary expressway runs across the nation connecting the state to Austria and Switzerland. A railway system also runs across the country, providing alternative connections to international destinations. Liechtenstein has no airport, but a helipad is available for helicopters.