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World Mission

Austria

Basic info

  • Area: 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi)
  • Population: 8,794,267
  • Infant mortality: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 81.5 years (78.9 years male, 84.3 years female).
  • Urbanisation: 66.1% of total population
  • Literacy: 99%

History

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 EU in 1995 have altered the meaning of this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the EU Economic and Monetary Union in 1999.

Environment

Austria is a largely mountainous country due to its location in the Alps. The Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps are all partly in Austria. Of the total area of Austria (84,000 km2 or 32,433 sq mi), only about a quarter can be considered low lying, and only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft). The Alps of western Austria give way somewhat into low lands and plains in the eastern part of the country. Austria lies between latitudes 46° and 49° N, and longitudes 9° and 18° E. It can be divided into five areas, the biggest being the Eastern Alps, which constitute 62% of the nation's total area. The Austrian foothills at the base of the Alps and the Carpathians account for around 12% and the foothills in the east and areas surrounding the periphery of the Pannoni low country amount to about 12% of the total landmass. The second greater mountain area (much lower than the Alps) is situated in the north. Known as the Austrian granite plateau, it is located in the central area of the Bohemian Mass and accounts for 10% of Austria. The Austrian portion of the Vienna basin comprises the remaining 4%. The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate climate zone, where humid westerly winds predominate. With nearly three-quarters of the country dominated by the Alps, the alpine climate is predominant. In the east—in the Pannonian Plain and along the Danube valley—the climate shows continental features with less rain than the alpine areas. Although Austria is cold in the winter (−10 to 0 °C), summer temperatures can be relatively high, with average temperatures in the mid-20s and a highest temperature of 40.5 °C (105 °F) in August 2013.

Economy

Austria is the 12th richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross domestic product) per capita, has a well-developed social market economy, and a high standard of living. Until the 1980s, many of Austria's largest industry firms were nationalised; in recent years, however, privatisation has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies. Labour movements are particularly strong in Austria and have large influence on labour politics. Next to a highly developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the national economy.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Groups(%)

Austrian

81.1%

Others

7.7%

Ex-Yugoslavs

6.3%

Germans

2.7%

Turkish

2.2%

Religion

Religion(%)

Roman Catholic

58.8%

None/Other

24.5%

Islam

7%

Eastern Orthodox

6%

Protestant

3.4%

Buddhism

0.2%

Judaism

0.1%

Languages