Wädenswil has an area of 17.4 km2 (6.7 sq mi). Of this area, 59.3% is used for agricultural purposes, while 9.6% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 29.8% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (1.3%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains). In 1996 housing and buildings made up 20.8% of the total area, while transportation infrastructure made up the rest (9%). Of the total unproductive area, water (streams and lakes) made up 0.4% of the area. As of 2007 24.5% of the total municipal area was undergoing some type of construction.
Wädenswil has a population (as of 31 December 2015) of 21,569. As of 2007, 20.5% of the population was made up of foreign nationals. As of 2008 the gender distribution of the population was 48.6% male and 51.4% female. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 2.1%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (85.0%), with Italian being second most common ( 3.9%) and Serbo-Croatian being third ( 1.9%).
In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP which received 35.2% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the SPS (17.6%), the FDP (13%) and the CSP (11.3%).
The age distribution of the population (as of 2000) is children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 22% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 64.2% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 13.9%. In Wädenswil about 76.7% of the population (between age 25–64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). There are 8796 households in Wädenswil.
Wädenswil has an unemployment rate of 2.94%. As of 2005, there were 268 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 84 businesses involved in this sector. 2020 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 195 businesses in this sector. 5169 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 725 businesses in this sector. As of 2007 44.8% of the working population were employed full-time, and 55.2% were employed part-time.
As of 2008 there were 6128 Catholics and 7507 Protestants in Wädenswil. In the 2000 census, religion was broken down into several smaller categories. From the census, 43.5% were some type of Protestant, with 40.5% belonging to the Swiss Reformed Church and 3% belonging to other Protestant churches. 32.2% of the population were Catholic. Of the rest of the population, 5% were Muslim, 7.5% belonged to another religion (not listed), 4% did not give a religion, and 11.9% were atheist or agnostic.
Located on Zürichsee lakeshore, Wädenswil–Vorder Au is part of the 56 Swiss sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps, and the settlement is also listed in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance as a Class object.
The Schloss Au on the Au Peninsula, its auxiliary buildings and the park are listed in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance as a Class B object of regional importance. The Wädenswil brewery in Swiss canton of Zurich was a brewery in Wädenswil who until 1990 was of 1833 in operation. The building of the former brewery in 2003 was partially demolished. The tradition of Wädenswiler beers continues since 1992 from the "Wadi-Brau-Huus AG».
The municipality is located on the A3 motorway.
Wädenswil railway station is served by Zürich S-Bahn services S2 and S8 on the lakeside line to Zürich, and is the terminus of the S13 service to Einsiedeln. It is also served by an hourly long distance service, generally an InterRegio service between Basel and Chur, but sometimes a EuroCity between Hamburg or Brussels and Chur. It is a 29-minute ride from Zürich Hauptbahnhof by the S8.
The Zimmerberg bus line (Zimmerbergbus), provided by the Sihltal Zürich Uetliberg Bahn (SZU), connects the Zimmerberg region and parts of the Sihl valley.
In summer, Wädenswil is served by regular ship services between Zürich and Rapperswil, run by the Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG) and calling at various lake side towns. A passenger ferry, operated on an hourly basis throughout the year by the same company, links Wädenswil with both Männedorf and Stäfa on the opposite shore of the lake. The ZSG's motor ship Wädenswil is named after the town.
The public Primarschule is supervised by the commune's Schulpflege. The board consists of nine elected members.
The Kindergarten are:Kindergarten Seeguet
Kindergarten Toblerweg 1 and 2
Kindergarten Zopf 1 and 2
The Primarschulen are:Au
The Oberstufenschule Wädenswil (OSW) is:Rotweg
The OSW is supervised by the commune's Schulpflege. The board consists of nine elected members.Musikschule Wädenswil-Richterswil
Hotel & Gastro formation Zürich - Ausbildungszentrum WäBi
Regionales Ausbildungszentrum (RAU)
Stiftung Bühl - Zentrum für Heilpädagogik und berufliche Eingliederung
ZHAW Wädenswil - Kompetenzzentrum für Life Sciences und Facility Management
The Zürich International School, an international school with an American curriculum, has its Lower School and Early ZIS campus (for early childhood and primary school) in Wädenswil. ZIS' Kindergarten and primary school is approved by the bureau for elementary school (Volksschulamt) of the canton of Zürich. However, it does not approve ZIS for its lower and upper secondary education (Sekundarstufe I aka Sekundarschule, and Sekundarstufe II aka Mittelschule). Therefore, its upper secondary school is not approved by the Swiss Federation, neither.
Between 1961 and 1990 Wädenswil had an average of 141.6 days of rain per year and on average received 1,353 mm (53.3 in) of precipitation. The wettest month was August during which time Wädenswil received an average of 157 mm (6.2 in) of precipitation. During the wettest month, there was precipitation for an average of 13.3 days. The month with the most precipitation days was May, with an average of 13.7 days.