This article is about the demographic features of the population of Austria, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
Austrians are a homogeneous people, although four decades of strong immigration have significantly altered the composition of the population of Austria.
According to the 2001 population census, 88.6% are native German speakers (96% Austro-Bavarian dialects and 4% Alemanic dialects) while the remaining 11.4% speak several minority languages. The non-German speakers of Austria can be divided into two groups: traditional minorities, who are related to territories formerly part of the Habsburg Empire, and new minorities, resulting from recent immigration.
Only three numerically significant traditional minority groups exist – 14,000 Carinthian Slovenes (according to the 2001 census – unofficial estimates of Slovene organisations put the number at 50,000) in Austrian Carinthia (south central Austria) and about 25,000 Croats and 20,000 Hungarians in Burgenland (on the Hungarian border). The Slovenes form a closely knit community. Their rights as well as those of the Croats are protected by law and generally respected in practice. The present boundaries of Austria, once the center of the Habsburg Empire that constituted the second-largest state in Europe, were established in accordance with the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919. Some Austrians, particularly near Vienna, still have relatives in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. A small minority of Roma and Sinti also live in the country. Its size appears to be growing with emigration from neighbouring countries.
According to the Austrian Statistical Bureau, in Mid-2006, 814,800 foreigners legally lived in Austria, representing 9.8% of the total population, one of the highest rates in Europe.
Owing to a growing naturalization rate, 330,000 people have been naturalized between 1985 and the end of 2003, representing about 4% of the 7.4 million Austrian citizens living today in the country.
Of these new citizens 110,000 came from Former Yugoslavia and 90,000 from Turkey. Considering pre-1985 naturalizations, in 2005 at least 18% (in Vienna more than 30%) of the population was either foreign or of foreign origin.
13,000 Turks were naturalized in 2003 and an unknown number, possibly in the 100,000 mark, have arrived in Austria at the same time. While 2,000 Turks left Austria in the same year, 10,000 immigrated to the country, confirming a strong trend of growth.
Resistance by many Austrians and by the Austrian Government to open EU access talks with Turkey in October 2005 appears to be at least partially linked to the fear that, if free to move in the EU territories, a disproportionate number of Turkish citizens could choose Austria as a suitable place for emigration, as it already has a well established Turkish community. As a comparison, only 12,000 Turkish citizens were living in Italy at the beginning of 2004.
About 78% of all Austrians are Roman Catholic. The church abstains from political activity; however, lay Catholic organizations are aligned with the conservative People's Party. The Social Democratic Party long ago shed its anticlerical stance. Small Lutheran minorities are located mainly in Vienna, Carinthia, and Burgenland. An estimated 15,000 Jews or adherents of Judaism live in Austria, primarily in Vienna – a remnant of the post-WWII community after the Nazi Holocaust. Immigration during the last decades has increased the percentage of Muslims.
Definition: age 15 and over can read and write