country profile - AUSTRIA
Background: Once 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. The Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995 have altered the meaning of this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the EU Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. In January 2009, Austria assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term.
geography  
Location: Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia
Area: total: 83,871 sq km
land: 82,445 sq km
water: 1,426 sq km
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
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers
Natural resources: oil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower
people  
Population: 8,665,550 (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.05% (male 622,856/female 594,349)
15-24 years: 11.55% (male 510,614/female 490,390)
25-54 years: 43.1% (male 1,861,777/female 1,862,705)
55-64 years: 12.5% (male 535,691/female 548,022)
65 years and over: 18.9% (male 706,288/female 932,858) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 43.6 years
male: 42.5 years
female: 44.6 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.55% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 9.41 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 9.42 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate 5.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: Austrian(s)
adjective: Austrian
Ethnic groups: Austrians 91.1%, former Yugoslavs 4% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Serbs, and Bosniaks), Turks 1.6%, German 0.9%, other or unspecified 2.4% (2001 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 73.6%, Protestant 4.7%, Muslim 4.2%, other 3.5%, unspecified 2%, none 12% (2001 census)
Languages: German (official nationwide) 88.6%, Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, other (includes Slovene, official in Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3% (2001 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: NA
female: NA
government  
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Austria
conventional short form: Austria
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
local short form: Oesterreich
Government type: federal republic
Capital: name: Vienna
geographic coordinates: 48 12 N, 16 22 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten (Carinthia), Niederoesterreich (Lower Austria), Oberoesterreich (Upper Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol (Tyrol), Vorarlberg, Wien (Vienna)
Independence: 976 (Margravate of Austria established); 17 September 1156 (Duchy of Austria founded); 11 August 1804 (Austrian Empire proclaimed); 12 November 1918 (republic proclaimed)
National holiday: National Day, 26 October (1955); note - commemorates the passage of the law on permanent neutrality
Legal system: civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court
Suffrage: 16 years of age; universal; note - reduced from 18 years of age in 2007
Executive branch: chief of state: President Heinz FISCHER (SPOe) (since 8 July 2004)
head of government: Chancellor Werner FAYMANN (SPOe) (since 2 December 2008); Vice Chancellor Michael SPINDELEGGER (OeVP) (since 21 April 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
elections: president elected for a six-year term (eligible for a second term) by direct popular vote and formally sworn into office before the Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung; presidential election last held on 25 April 2010 (next to be held on 25 April 2016); 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 reelected president; percent of vote - Heinz FISCHER 79.33%, Barbara ROSENKRANZ 15.24%, Rudolf GEHRING 5.43%
note: government coalition - SPOe and OeVP
Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of Federal Council or Bundesrat (62 seats; delegates appointed by state parliaments with each state receiving 3 to 12 seats in proportion to its population; members serve five- or six-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members elected by popular vote for a five-year term under a system of proportional representation with partially open party lists)
elections: National Council - last held on 29 September 2013 (next to be held by September 2018)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - SPOe 27.1%, OeVP 23.8%, FPOe 21.4%, Greens 11.5%, Team Stronach for Austria 5.8%, NEOS - The New Austria 4.8%, other 5.6%; seats by party - SPOe 53, OeVP 46, FPOe 42, Greens 22; Team Stronach for Austria 11, NEOS - The New Austria 9
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 85 judges organized into 17 senates or panels of five judges each); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof (consists of 20 judges including 6 substitutes; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof - 2 judges plus other members depending on the importance of the case)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; judges serve for life; Constitutional Court judges nominated by several executive branch departments and approved by the president; judges serve for life; Administrative Court judges recommended by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; terms of judges and members determined by the president
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (4); Regional Courts (20); district courts (120); county courts
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for the Future of Austria or BZOe [Josef BUCHER]
Austrian People's Party or OeVP [Reinhold MITTERLEHNER]
Communist Party of Austria or KPOe [Mirko MESSNER]
Freedom Party of Austria or FPOe [Heinz Christian STRACHE]
The Greens [Eva GLAWISCHNIG]
NEOS - The New Austria [Matthias STROLZ]
Social Democratic Party of Austria or SPOe [Werner FAYMANN]
"Team Stronach" [Frank STRONACH]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Austrian Trade Union Federation or OeGB (nominally independent but primarily Social Democratic)
Federal Economic Chamber (OeVP-dominated)
Labor Chamber or AK (Social Democratic-leaning think tank)
OeVP-oriented Association of Austrian Industrialists or IV
Roman Catholic Church, including its chief lay organization, Catholic Action
other: three composite leagues of the Austrian People's Party or OeVP representing business, labor, farmers, and other nongovernment organizations in the areas of environment and human rights
International organization participation: ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CD, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red; the flag design is certainly one of the oldest - if not the oldest - national banners in the world; according to tradition, following a fierce battle in the Third Crusade, Duke Leopold V of Austria's white tunic became completely blood-spattered; upon removal of his wide belt or sash, a white band was revealed; the red-white-red color combination was subsequently adopted as his banner
communications  
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 3.27 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 31 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 138 (2014 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: highly developed and efficient
domestic: fixed-line subscribership has been in decline since the mid-1990s with mobile-cellular subscribership eclipsing it by the late 1990s; the fiber-optic net is very extensive; all telephone applications and Internet services are available
international: country code - 43; satellite earth stations - 15; in addition, there are about 600 VSATs (very small aperture terminals) (2007)
Broadcast media: Austria's public broadcaster, Osterreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), was the main broadcast source until commercial radio and TV service was introduced in the 1990s; cable and satellite TV are available, including German TV stations (2008)
Internet country code: .at
Internet hosts: 3.512 million (2012)
Internet users: total: 7.2 million
percent of population: 83.7% (2014 est.)
transportation  
Airports: 52 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 24
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 13 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 28
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 24 (2013)
Heliports: 1 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 4,736 km; oil 663 km; refined products 157 km (2013)
Railways: total: 5,267.7 km
standard gauge: 5,267.7 km 1.435-m gauge (3,556.4 km electrified) (2014)
Roadways: total: 124,508 km
paved: 124,508 km (includes 1,719 km of expressways) (2012)
Waterways: 358 km (2011)
Merchant marine: registered in other countries: 3 (Cyprus 1, Kazakhstan 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: river port(s): Enns, Krems, Linz, Vienna (Danube)
transnational issues  
Disputes - international: while threats of international legal action never materialized in 2007, 915,220 Austrians, with the support of the newly elected Freedom Party, signed a petition in January 2008, demanding that Austria block the Czech Republic's accession to the EU unless Prague closed its nuclear power plant in Temelin, bordering Austria
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 7,675 (Afghanistan) (2014)
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and South American cocaine destined for Western Europe; increasing consumption of European-produced synthetic drugs
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/au.html