In 2016, 8 739 806 people were living in Austria according to final results of Statistics Austria. 287 946 people (~ +3.3%) more than at the beginning of 2013. As in previous years, the population growth could be mainly attributed to gains from international migration, while birth surpluses and statistical adjustments only made for comparatively small increases of the population figure.
87 675 children were born in Austria in 2016, which corresponds to a crude birth rate of 10.0 live births per 1 000 population. The total fertility rate was 1.53 children per woman. This average is therefore well below the “replacement level” of approx. 2 children per woman. Measured by the “net reproduction rate”, the generation currently at reproductive ages will numerically reproduce itself by 74 per cent. The fact that the period fertility is so low in Austria is also due to the ever rising age at childbirth (“postponement” of births). The mean fertility age in 2016 was 30.6 years, i.e. 0.4 years higher than in 2012.
Mortality and Life Expectancy (incl. infant mortality)
80 669 deaths were recorded in Austria in 2016, which corresponds to a crude death rate of 9.2 deaths per 1 000 population. In 2016 the life expectancy of an Austrian male at birth was 79.1 years, i.e. 0.8 years higher than in 2012. The life expectancy at birth for women has risen by 0.7 years since 2012, to a current figure of 84.0 years.
The infant mortality rate – infant deaths per 1 000 live births – was 3.1 per thousand in Austria in 2016. Since 1997 this figure has always been below the 5-per-thousand mark, since 2006 even below the 4-per-thousand mark. The total of infant deaths in the first week of life and stillbirths is called the number of “perinatal deaths”. In 2016 there were 5.2 per 1000 live births.
Austria recorded an international net-migration gain of 64 676 people in 2016, about 43% less than in the previous year because of the refugee crisis (2015: +113 067). Migration statistics, calculated by Statistics Austria and derived from data of the Central Register of Residence, showed an inflow of 174 310 people in 2016 and an outflow of 109 634. As in previous years, Austrian citizens had a negative migration balance of 5044, meaning a significant increase of migration loss over the previous year. However, a migration gain of 69720 people was recorded for foreign citizens.
Components of population change
From a demographic perspective, Austria’s population growth can be attributed first and foremost to a positive net migration (balance of immigration and emigration). In contrast, the natural increase (balance of births and deaths) makes only a comparatively small contribution to population growth. Marked differences, however, occurred between federal territories: Population gains mainly resulted from natural population increases in Vorarlberg, while migration gains accounted for a small part. In contrast, there was a surplus of deaths over births registered in Burgenland, Lower Austria, Styria and Carinthia. In Vienna, the large population increase was nearly exclusively the result of net-migration gains.
In 2016 on average some 1.898 million people (~ 22.1% of the population) with foreign background were living in Austria. 1.414,9 million of them were born abroad, while 483 100 people were descendants of foreign-born parents but born in Austria and thus counted as “second generation”.
The figure of 174.310 arrivals from abroad and 109.634 departures to foreign countries produced an international net migration of 64.676 people in 2016. Migration gains thus were about 43% lower than in 2015 (+113.067 people). As in previous years, Austrian citizens had a negative migration balance of 5044, meaning a significant decrease of migration loss compared to the previous year (-5450). However, a migration gain of 69.720 people was recorded for foreign citizens, significantly lower than in 2015 (+118.517).
About 50% of migration gains with foreign citizens could be allotted to EU citizens (+34.123 people). The largest sub-group was formed of Romanians citizens (+7.531), followed by Hungarians (+5.972 people) and Germans (+5.442).
The migration balance of third country nationals reached +35.371 people in 2016. Almost 23% of migration gains with third-country nationals were with citizens of European states outside the EU. The largest sub-group were citizens of afghanistan (+8.992 people), followed by Syrians (+7.839 people).
At the level of the federal states, Vienna remained the prime destination for international immigration to Austria. The federal capital accounted for about 32.7% of net migration (+21.139 people), followed by Upper Austria (+11.118), Lower Austria (+7.044) and Styria (+6.343). Within the federal provinces, international immigration focused on the state capitals and their environs; in Tyrol, Salzburg and Carinthia, it also gravitated towards tourist regions and in the case of Lower Austria towards the southern suburbs of Vienna.
Migration within Austria
Since the beginning of the 1970s Austria`s population change is determined almost exclusively by migratory movements, since births and deaths are largely balanced. Corresponding to the relation of the numbers of births and deaths, internal migration has a regionally varying influence on the evolution of the population.
There were 817.139 cases of people migrating within Austria in 2016, up from 795.028 in 2015. The majority of these internal migrations involved relatively short distances, with around 53% of cases concerning moves within a municipality.
As a result of Vienna being the single city in Austria with more than 1 million inhabitants and the resulting intensified functional linkages with surrounding regions, migration gains from internal migration occurred more frequently in the East of Austria than in other parts of the country. Most migrants are between 20 and 34 years old and are Austrian nationals, albeit the relative frequency of internal migration is higher with foreigners. Age-specific patterns of internal migration show a pronounced trend for suburbanisation, which with increasing age, also extends to further outlying areas. Only young adults aged 18 to 26 years predominantly move to central cities to benefit from their larger offer of educational and vocational opportunities.
Population by demographic characteristics
Decline in the surplus of women, aging population, continuing growth of the Austrian population with a foreign background: These headlines reflect some of the principal results of the 2016 Register-based Census relating to the demographic topics.
The gender ratio of 866 men to 1 000 women calculated by the 1951 Population Census had, by 2017, increased to 966 men to 1 000 women. One reason for the excess of women – the men who fell during the two World Wars – has become ever less significant as more and more war widows have died. The fact that there is nevertheless a larger proportion of women is related to the higher life expectancy of females.
For instance, the average age has increased by 0.2 since 2016 (2017: 42.5). The proportion of elderly people in 2017 was 18.5%; the “quotient of seniors” (ratio of people aged 65 and above to 100 people of primary working age between 20 and 64 years) was 61.9. The quotient of young people (ratio of children and youngsters up to 19 years to 100 people of primary working age) was 19.6 in 2017. Despite a growing number and proportion of seniors, the “overall dependency quotient” has slightly increased compared to 2016 (61.5 against 61.6 in 2017).
Population by the Level of Education
The level of education of the population relates to the highest level of education completed. In Austria, 1 065 008 people have completed a tertiary education according to the Register-based Census 2011. Compared to the last census 2001 this number has risen by about 333600 people, or 45.6%. The number of graduates on the secondary level has also risen. Young women reached already a higher level of education than their male companions.
During the last ten years the overall education level has risen again: the younger generation is better educated, and the old, generally less educated (because of worse education possibilities in the past) people are dying away. The percentage of the population with more than just a lower secondary degree has risen from 60.8% to 71.7% or in other words by almost one million people.
According to the assumptions for fertility, mortality and migration by Statistics Austria, the total population of Austria will increase to 9.43 million people (+9%) until 2030. In 2015, the reference year for the new population projection, Austria had a population of 8.63 million.
Diverse regional development: Vienna will see the highest growth
According to the main scenario, the population development will vary substantially among the nine provinces during the next decades. Vienna (+18%) is expected to have the most marked population growth until 2040, followed by Lower Austria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg. Carinthia is the only province being expected to lose some population until 2060.
Population Growth will be Accompanied by Aging
Children and youngsters under 20 years are projected to account for a slightly smaller proportion of the total population, namely 19% in 2060 as compared to 19.6% in 2017. The majority of the provinces will follow this trend, except Vienna, where rising proportions are expected. As the “baby-boom generation” (those born between 1955 and 1970) will reach the retirement age after 2015, the size of the elderly population (ages 65 and over) is projected to increase in all of the nine provinces. Thus for Austria as a whole, the proportion of the elderly population will grow from 18.6% in 2017 to 28.1% by 2060. By then, Carinthia (34%) as well as Burgenland (33%) are expected to remain the “oldest” regions while the western part of Austria (Tyrol and Vorarlberg) as well as Vienna will still rank as the “youngest” regions. Vienna will hold a share of 23% elderly people by 2060. The average age of Austria’s population will significantly increase over the next decades from 42.5 (2017) to 47.0 years (2060).
Increase of the foreign born population
A further increase of the foreign born population due to migration is expected. In the year 2017, 1.675 million people born in a foreign country lived in Austria. This averages 19% of the total population. The number of this population group will rise to 2.06 million until the year 2030, and to 2.49 million until 2060. The share of foreign born population will increase to 22% (2030) and 25% (2060), respectively. Currently, Vienna holds a population ratio of 35% (2017) of foreign born persons. This share will increase to slightly more than 41% in the year 2040.
Languages of Austria
The majority of the population speaks German, which is also the country's official language. It is the language used in media, in schools, and formal announcements. The variety of German used, Austrian German is partially influenced by Austro-Bavarian and uses many “Germanized” words and expressions deriving from it.
The main native language of Austria outside Vorarlberg is Austro-Bavarian, which is spoken using many different dialects. The northern parts of Austria (including Vienna) speak Central Austro-Bavarian dialects and the southern parts Southern Austro-Bavarian dialects. Austro-Bavarian differs heavily from high German, making it hard for German speakers of different regions to understand the native population.
Alemannic is spoken in Vorarlberg. Vorarlberg uses a High Alemannic, the same dialect group as that spoken in Northern Switzerland (outside Basel) and parts of southern Alsace, France. To most Germans and Austrians outside of Vorarlberg it is very difficult to understand, as it is more similar to Swiss German, with many grammatical and pronunciation differences.
A number of minority languages are spoken in Austria, some of which have official status.
- Serbian: is the largest minority language, with usage by 2.4% of Austrians.
- Turkish: is the second minority language, spoken by some 2.3% of the population.
- Burgenland Croatian: Burgenland Croatian, an official language in Burgenland, is spoken by 2.5% of Austrians, and Burgenland Croats are recognized as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955.
- Hungarian: While little spoken today, Hungarian has traditionally held an important position in Austria (or, more correctly, Austria-Hungary). Today, Hungarian is spoken by around 20,000 people (.05% of the Austrian population) in Burgenland.
- Slovene: an official language in Carinthia, is spoken by 0.3% of Austrians. Carinthian Slovenes are recognized as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) of 1955.
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
Austria ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on 28 June 2001 for the following languages in respect of specific Länder
- Croatian of Burgenland
- Slovene (in Carinthia and Styria)
- Hungarian (in Burgenland and Vienna)
- Czech (in Vienna)
- Slovak (in Vienna)
- Romani (in Burgenland)
The Austrian Federal Constitution calls for the respect and promotion of ethnic groups resident in Austria. Special rights for Croatian (around 30,000), Slovenian (13,000 to 40,000 Slovenes in the Austrian state of Carinthia), Hungarian, Czech and Slovak ethnic groups and for Roma are established in the Ethnic Group Act [Volksgruppengesetz] of 1976 and a number of other laws and regulations.
The rights of the Croatian and Slovenian ethnic groups are also set forth in the State Treaty of Vienna (1955).The Slovenes in the Austrian state of Styria (estimated at a number between 1,600 and 5,000) are not recognised as a minority and do not enjoy special rights, although the State Treaty of 27 July 1955 states otherwise. The Ethnic Groups Act of 1976 only recognises members of indigenous (autochthonous) ethnic groups, a term that applies to Austrian citizens whose families have been living in Austria for at least three generations.