Austria Geography and Population

By | January 8, 2023

Austria – geography

Austria is predominantly a mountain country. Only to the east and SE and in the Danube Valley there are larger lowland areas. The entire western part is occupied by the Eastern Alps, which includes the Northern Lime Calves on the border with Germany with Allgäu Alps, Lechtal Alps, Wetterstein Mountains and Karwendel Mountains. On the border with Italy are Ötztaler Alpen and Zillertaler Alpen, which consists mainly of crystalline shales, and further east The Carnic Alps, which on the border with Slovenia merge into the Caravankers. Hohe Tauern with the country’s highest point, the Großglockner(3797 m), continues east into the Niedere Tauern. Both of these mountain areas are built of granite and gneiss. North of the Danube follows from west to east Mühl-, Wald- and Weinviertel. The Mühl and Waldviertel are highland areas belonging to the Hercynian Bohemian Massif and in the Plöckenstein at the Czech border reach a height of 1379 m. In the Weinviertel to the NE, where the highest point is 491 m, the transition to the Carpathian foreland begins. To the east and SE are pelvic landscapes that form the transition to the Hungarian plains.

The Danube crosses from west to east through Austria on a 350 km long stretch. Major tributaries to the Danube are Enns (254 km), Traun (153 km) and Ybbs (130 km). The 510 km long Inn is also a tributary of the Danube. It originates in Switzerland and runs through Tyrol and then crosses the border into Germany and later on a piece forming the border between Austria and Germany before the mouth of the Danube at Passau. At the edge of the Alps lie large lakes. Austria has a share in Lake Constance towards the NW. To the north between Salzburg and Gmunden lies in the landscape Salzkammergut a number of lakes, the largest of which are Mondsee, Attersee and Traunsee. On the border with Hungary lies the Neusiedler See.


Austria has a humid, continental climate. The high areas to the west have perpetual snow over 3000 m. In the lowland areas to the east and north, the temperature in January is between −1 and −3 °C and in July 20 °C. The annual rainfall in the Alps is up to 3000 mm, while in the valleys it reaches 1500 mm. In the lowland areas, the rainfall is 600-800 mm.

Animal and plant life

Forests cover more than 1/3 of the country. In the area north of the Danube, spruce and beech are predominantly to the west, while in the Weinviertel there are elements of oak. Along the rivers grow willow, poplar, ash, elm and el. In the Northern Alps, beech, spruce and spruce are widespread, while the Southern Alps especially have pine and oak. Above 1600 m, the mixed forest is replaced by coniferous forest. The forest border is approximately 2000 masl

The animal world is very rich in species, and approximately 25% of the country is protected areas. A number of rare bird species live in the Alps, such as lamb vultures, golden eagles and alpine sailors, and in the large reed forests by Lake Neusiedler there is a very special bird world with a variety of titmice, kingfishers and bees. In the high-lying parts of the Alps, there are ibex, chamois and marmots.


Austria has a relatively homogeneous population and more than 90% are German-speaking. Almost 80% are Roman Catholic. Seen in the Central European context, the population density, 98 per. km2, not very large, which is related to the large mountain areas; 60% of the alpine country is thus uninhabited. The largest concentration is found in the Vienna area, where approximately 20% bor. In addition, the Danube Valley and the Inndalen are relatively densely populated. However, there is a certain shift to the west, as cities such as Innsbruck, Salzburg and Bregenz are growing strongly, while Vienna has been in decline for a long time: Vienna, which has 1.6 million. residents, is the only million-strong city in the world with fewer residents than before World War I. Since the late 1980’s, however, there has been strong growth due to immigration; population growth in Austria is below 0.5% and is mainly due to immigration, while natural growth is close to 0. The proportion of foreign nationals increased from 1991 to 2006 from 6.6% to 9.8%, in Vienna to 19.7% . The largest immigrant groups are people from the former Yugoslavia as well as from Turkey and Germany. approximately 400,000 Austrians live abroad, half of them in Germany. Ethnic minorities are found in Burgenland (Hungarians and Croats), in Carinthia (Slovenes) and in Vienna (Hungarians and Czechs).

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Agricultural employment has declined sharply, accounting for only 1% in 2005 with a contribution of 2% to GDP, while industrial industries accounted for 33%, and trade and service industries, including tourism, 65%.

In the Alpine region, cattle farming is predominant, and half of the country’s timber production also comes from here. In the flat areas to the north and east, agriculture is dominant. The main crops are sugar beet, wheat, corn and potatoes. Wine and fruit are grown in climatically favored regions such as Lower Austria and Burgenland, from which 90% of wine production originates. For culture and traditions of Austria, please check aparentingblog.

Many kinds of mineral raw materials are found in Austria, but in most cases not in such large quantities that they can meet the needs of the country. Lignite is still mined near Graz, and in the Wienerbækken there is oil and natural gas. In the Alpine region, iron, lead, zinc, copper and tungsten ore are mined. While the production of these ores is declining, magnesite mining in Tyrol, Carinthia and Styria is significant, and Austria accounts for 7% of world production.

Iron and steel manufacturing, together with the metal industry, chemical industry and machinery industry, are the most important industries. In the Vienna area, the relatively new electrotechnical industry is concentrated. The textile and clothing industry is of the greatest importance in Vienna and in the border areas with Switzerland.

Austria is a significant transit country. The north-south route over the Brenner Pass and the Tauern motorway are often congested, not least by large lorries. Attempts are being made to move part of the heavy transport from road to rail, as approximately 2/3 of the transport of goods takes place by truck, while rail accounts for less than 1/4. Twice as much of the transit cargo is transported by road as by rail.

Austria’s largest trading partner is Germany, which accounts for approximately 40% of total exports and imports; followed by France, Italy, Japan and the United States. The main export and import goods are machinery and chemical products.

Tourism weighs heavily in the economy. approximately 19 mio. foreigners visit Austria annually. Popular tourist areas are the Alps, Burgenland, the lake area of ​​the Salzkammergut and Vienna, Salzburg, Graz and Linz. In the otherwise economically weak alpine area, tourism has created so many new jobs that emigration has ceased.

Austria – religion

Christianity must have reached Austria in 300-t. In 798 Salzburg became the archbishopric. The development in the Middle Ages proceeded as in Germany. Vienna became the episcopate of 1469 and the archbishopric of 1723. The Reformation was victorious, but was gradually defeated during the 1500’s and 1600’s. A Roman Catholic state church was introduced in the 1700’s, marked by the ideas of the Enlightenment (see Josephine Finism), but was abolished again in 1848. The Roman Catholic Church remains dominant; in 1998 was approximately 84% Christians (78% Catholic, 5% Evangelical, 0.9% Orthodox), 2% Muslims and 0.1% Jews, ie. approximately 8000.

Austria – Economy

After World War II the economy was in ruins; before that a large part of the business had come into German hands. This was a major reason why the coalition government in the early post-war years nationalized more than 70 of the country’s large corporations, banks and insurance companies. In these years, the foundation was also laid for Austria’s so – called consensus policy, which means that the government draws up economic policy in close cooperation with the National Bank and the most important business organizations, the so – called Sozialpartnerschaft. Consensus policy has had a major impact on the fact that Austria has not been hit by major economic crises since the post-war years, but has also meant that the economic policy-making process has at times been slow and cumbersome.

Austria has a small open economy, which is highly dependent on trade with the outside world, and the rebuilding of the economy in the early post-war years was hampered by the impact of the Cold War on East-West trade and the division of Austria into zones. During the 1950’s, however, the country experienced a marked economic recovery, and Austria’s western orientation was cemented through membership of EFTA in 1959 and the OECD in 1960; by contrast, the Soviet Union opposed Austrian membership of the EC. Economic progress continued through the 1960’s, and not even the two oil crises of the 1970’s led to severe setbacks. Inflationary inflows were kept in ave by a tight monetary policy designed to keep a fixed exchange rate for the currency, the schilling, against the D-mark.

After the election in 1970, when the SPÖ under Bruno Kreisky’s formed a minority government with the FPÖ, the main emphasis was on building a welfare state based on the Nordic model. However, this resulted in large deficits in public budgets, which were exacerbated by the loss-making performance of many state-owned enterprises. The development led to the re-establishment of a re-coalition government between the ÖVP and the SPÖ in 1987, a comprehensive privatization program which took off in earnest after the end of the Cold War, when Austria was able to enter into closer economic and political cooperation with the EU; in 1994, Austria acceded to the EEA Agreement and in 1995, together with Sweden and Finland, joined the EU. At the same time, membership of EFTA ceased and schilling became associated with European Monetary Cooperation, the EMS. The main objective of economic policy then became to qualify Austria for participation in EMU from 1999. After an economic horse cure, which entailed major savings in public spending, the desire was realized and the euro replaced the shilling in 2002.

The tightening of fiscal policy, in combination with low growth in Germany, led to a certain slowdown in economic growth, which nevertheless remained at approximately 2.25% on average 1995-2000 or roughly the same as at the beginning of the decade. The growth was maintained that Austria could reorient itself towards the local markets of Central and Eastern Europe and regain its position as a hub in East-West trade. Austria’s proximity to four new EU members with emerging economies has also contributed to the country, after a stagnation in 2001-03, again in the following years able to achieve annual growth rates of approximately 2%.

The bourgeois government (2002-06) has implemented tax cuts and restricted the right to early retirement; the latter triggered in 2003 the first general strike in 50 years. Despite the fact that quite a few Austrians older than 60 years are employed, unemployment has been rising slightly, which has been met with e.g. infrastructure projects resulting in a smaller budget deficit for 2005; thus, government debt is 65% of GDP. Strong interventions in 2003 against immigration attracted international attention. Until 2002, Austria had a trade deficit, which has most often been offset by large tourist revenues. However, tourist revenues have been declining through the 1990’s; this, together with the fact that Austria is a net contributor to EU budgets, has temporarily led to balance of payments problems.

Germany is by far Austria’s largest trading partner and accounts for almost 40% of foreign trade; then come Italy and Switzerland. Trade with Eastern Europe is becoming increasingly important. Denmark’s exports to Austria in 2005 amounted to DKK 4,110 million. DKK, while imports from there were 5279 mill. kr.

Austria Geography