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The tiny mountain village of Corippo, perched on the Swiss Alps, is much more than a village. It is an autonomous municipality with its own coat of arms and a mayor who leads the town council consisting of only three local citizens. With only twelve residents, Corippo is the smallest municipality in Switzerland. And its population is progressively shrinking—just two years ago it had fourteen.

When Corippo became a fully independent municipality in the mid-19th century, it had a population of nearly three hundred. But like many Alpine communities, Corippo has experienced depopulation for the past several decades with the younger generation moving out to the towns and cities for work and education and an overall better life. Only the very old and the very weak remained behind. Out of the twelve residents, only the mayor is employed; the rest are pensioners. The average age is 75. Soon, the residents fear, Corippo will have no one left.

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Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr

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