People and Religion

Overview

Tourists in front of the Staatsoper

Population

At the beginning of 2005, Austria had around 8,206,524 inhabitants, an increase of 65,000 over the previous year. Around 98.5 percent of the Austrian population speak German. The increase in population is due not only to the excess of births over deaths, but in particular also to an increase in immigration since the beginning of the 1990s. Foreign nationals now make up 9.6 percent of the total population, and 18 percent of the population in Vienna.

The majority of the population are women (51 percent). The average life expectancy in 2004 was 76 years for men and 82 years for women. Members of the six recognized indigenous minority groups live in the east and south of the country. These groups are defined in the Ethnic Groups Act as Austrian citizens of mother tongue other than German, with their own distinct customs, living and having their origins in Austrian territory. Article 1 of the Ethnic Groups Act guarantees protection to the minority groups, their language and their customs.

Indigenous minority groups in Austria are: Croatian (Burgenland), Slovenian (South Carinthia, South Styria), Hungarian (Burgenland), Czech (Vienna, Lower Austria), Slovak (Vienna, Lower Austria), Roma and Sinti (Burgenland, Vienna)

Religion

In the 2001 census, 73.7 percent (about 6 million) of the population indicated that they were Roman Catholic and 4.7 percent Protestant. Some 4.2 percent of the population are Muslim, 2.2 percent Orthodox Christians, 0.9 percent belong to other Christian communities and 0.1 percent are Jewish. Approximately 12 percent of the population does not belong to any faith.

Officially recognized churches and faiths in Austria: Catholic Church, Protestant Church (Augsburg Confession and Helvetian Confessions), Greek Oriental Church (including: Serbian Orthodox, Rumanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Bulgarian Orthodox), Judaism, Islam, Old Catholic Church, Methodist Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Armenian Apostolic Church, New Apostolic Church, Buddhism, Syrian Orthodox Church Coptic Orthodox Church