Facts about Austria

World Facts Index > Austria > Graz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna

AustriaOnce the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies in 1945, Austria's status remained unclear for a decade. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade unification with Germany. A constitutional law that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality" as a condition for Soviet military withdrawal. Following the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995, some Austrians have called into question this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999.

Geography of Austria

Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
47 20 N, 13 20 E
total: 83,858 sq km
water: 1,120 sq km
land: 82,738 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundaries:
total: 2,562 km
border countries: Czech Republic 362 km, Germany 784 km, Hungary 366 km, Italy 430 km, Liechtenstein 35 km, Slovakia 91 km, Slovenia 330 km, Switzerland 164 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain in lowlands and snow in mountains; cool summers with occasional showers
in the west and south mostly mountains (Alps); along the eastern and northern margins mostly flat or gently sloping
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Neusiedler See 115 m
highest point: Grossglockner 3,798 m
Natural resources:
iron ore, oil, timber, magnesite, lead, coal, lignite, copper, hydropower
Natural hazards:
landslides; avalanches; earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
some forest degradation caused by air and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of agricultural chemicals; air pollution results from emissions by coal- and oil-fired power stations and industrial plants and from trucks transiting Austria between northern and southern Europe
Geography - note:
landlocked; strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys; major river is the Danube; population is concentrated on eastern lowlands because of steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures elsewhere

More Geography

Population of Austria

8,205,533 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.8% (male 621,326/female 592,131)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 2,783,531/female 2,753,389)
65 years and over: 17.7% (male 599,415/female 855,741)
Median age:
total: 41.7 years
male: 40.7 years
female: 42.8 years
Growth rate:
Birth rate:
8.9 births/1,000
Death rate:
9.56 deaths/1,000
Net migration rate:
2 migrant(s)/1,000
Infant mortality:
4.48 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.36 years
male: 76.46 years
female: 82.41 years
Total fertility rate:
1.38 children born/woman
noun: Austrian(s)
adjective: Austrian
Ethnic groups:
German 88.5%, indigenous minorities 1.5% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma), recent immigrant groups 10% (includes Turks, Bosnians, Serbians, Croatians)
Roman Catholic 74%, Protestant 5%, Muslim 4%, other 17%
German (official nationwide), Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian (official in Burgenland), Hungarian (official in Burgenland)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Austria
local short form: Oesterreich
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
Government type:
federal republic
Administrative divisions:
9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten, Niederoesterreich, Oberoesterreich, Salzburg, Steiermark, Tirol, Vorarlberg, Wien
1156 (from Bavaria)
National holiday:
National Day, 26 October (1955); note - commemorates the State Treaty restoring national sovereignty and the end of occupation and the passage of the law on permanent neutrality
1920; revised 1929 (reinstated 1 May 1945)
Legal system:
civil law system with Roman law origin; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court; separate administrative and civil/penal supreme courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal; compulsory for presidential elections
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Heinz FISCHER (SPOe) (since 8 July 2004)
head of government: Chancellor Alfred GUSENBAUER (SPOe) (since 11 January 2007); Vice Chancellor Wilhelm MOLTERER (OeVP) (since 11 January 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
elections: president elected by direct popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); presidential election last held 25 April 2004 (next to be held in April 2010); chancellor formally chosen by the president but determined by the coalition parties forming a parliamentary majority; vice chancellor chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
election results: Heinz FISCHER elected president; percent of vote - Heinz FISCHER 52.4%, Benita FERRERO-WALDNER 47.6%
Legislative branch:
bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of Federal Council or Bundesrat (62 members; members represent each of the states on the basis of population, but with each state having at least 3 representatives; members serve a five- or six-year term) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Judicial Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof; Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof


Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. The Austrian economy also benefits greatly from strong commercial relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, with central, eastern, and southeastern Europe. The economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. Membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the new EU economies. The outgoing government has successfully pursued a comprehensive economic reform program, aimed at streamlining government and creating a more competitive business environment, further strengthening Austria's attractiveness as an investment location. It has implemented effective pension reforms; however, lower taxes in 2005-06 led to a small budget deficit in 2006 and 2007. Boosted by strong exports, growth nevertheless reached 3.3% in both 2006 and 2007, although the economy may slow in 2008 because of the strong euro, high oil prices, and problems in international financial markets. To meet increased competition - especially from new EU members and Central European countries - Austria will need to continue restructuring, emphasizing knowledge-based sectors of the economy, and encouraging greater labor flexibility and greater labor participation by its aging population.

$322 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
0.8% (2003 est.), 1.9% (2005 est.), $373.9 billion (2007 est.)
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 30.3%
services: 68%
Population below poverty line:
3.9% (1999), 5.9% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 22.5%
Inflation rate:
1.2% (2003 est.), 2.3% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
4.3 million (2001), 3.49 million (2005 est.), 2.2% (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 27%
services: 70% (2005 est.)
4.3% (2003 est.), 5.2% (2005 est.), 4.4% (2007 est.)
revenues: $177.5 billion
expenditures: $179.9 billion (2007 est.)
construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
3.8% (2001 est.), 4.7% (2005 est.), 5.7% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
58.75 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 29.3%
hydro: 67.2%
other: 3.5% 
nuclear: 0%
grains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine, fruit; dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry; lumber
machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, paper and paperboard, metal goods, chemicals, iron and steel; textiles, foodstuffs
Export partners:
Germany 29.8%, Italy 8.8%, US 4.9%, Switzerland 4.3% (2007)
machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal goods, oil and oil products; foodstuffs
Import partners:
Germany 45.5%, Italy 7.1%, Switzerland 5%, Netherlands 4.3% (2007)
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by the financial institutions of member countries; as of 1 January 2002, the euro became the only legal tender in EMU member countries, including Austria

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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