With an average population density of 105 residents per
km2 (2019), Austria does not belong to Europe's
more densely populated countries. More than 40 percent of
the population lives around Vienna in the northeast (just
over 1/4 of the country's residents live in Vienna's
metropolitan area) and about 1/3 in the Upper Austria and
Styria, while the alpine-dominated areas in the west and
south (with the exception of Vorarlberg) are relatively
sparse.. The largest cities are Vienna (1.8 million
residents, 2014), Graz (270,300), Linz (193,800), Salzburg
(146,600) and Innsbruck (124,600).
Population growth was slow for most of the 20th century.
In 1900, the present Austria had about 6 million residents,
7 million reached in 1952, 7.5 million in 1981 and 8 million
in 2000. Birth rates have long been low, and the world wars
and periods of strong emigration have left clear traces.
During the post-war period, immigration surpluses have
usually been moderate, despite the occasional large
immigration. However, during the early 1990s, the eastern
parts of the country saw a significant increase in
population, mainly as a result of a strong influx of
refugees and to a certain extent labor immigration to the
Vienna area. At the beginning of the 1990s, Austria's
immigration and asylum laws were sharpened and thereafter
the number of asylum seekers has fallen sharply. In 2015,
17.2 percent of Austria's population was born abroad. Of
these, 7.9 percent were born in another EU country.
For information on life expectancy and other demographic
statistics, see Country facts.
Countryaah data, Austria is mainly German-speaking. The German standard
language is spoken with a distinctive southern German accent
that is part of the national identity. The vocabulary
contains over 1,000 so-called Austriacisms, ie. words that
are typically Austrian. In the southernmost part of the
state of Carinthia there is a Slovenian-speaking minority of
about 20,000 people (2010) and in the state of Burgenland a
roughly equal Croatian-speaking minority and a small
Hungarian-speaking minority of about 5,000 people. The
rights of language minorities are guaranteed in the 1955
Austrian state treaty.
Christianity reached Austria as early as the 300s, and in
the following centuries a number of monasteries were built.
The Archbishop's seat in Salzburg came to about 700. A true
ward division took place only during Karl the Great's time.
The following medieval development was entirely parallel to
German. Vienna became bishop's seat in 1469. The reformation
was initially successful but was forced back in the 1600s.
Mary Teresia and Joseph II made the Catholic Church a state
church, marked by the ideas of the Enlightenment (Compare
The state church system was abolished in 1848, when
religious freedom was also introduced; In 1870 the church
was once again tied to the state. Despite strong
anti-clericalism, there was no equivalent to the cultural
struggle in Germany. The authoritarian Catholic regime under
Engelbert Dollfuss struck a concord with the Pope in 1934.
This was renewed in 1957 and still exists. 78% of the
population (1995) are Roman Catholics, 5% belong to the
evangelical churches (Lutheran and Reformed); about 8.5%
refer to themselves as religious.