CultureConnect.com

 Austria [Country Flag of Austria]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Austria]

Austria

Geography

[Top of Page]

Location: Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia

Geographic coordinates: 47 20 N, 13 20 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 83,858 sq km
land: 82,738 sq km
water: 1,120 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Maine

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)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain in lowlands and snow in mountains; cool summers with occasional showers

Terrain: in the west and south mostly mountains (Alps); along the eastern and northern margins mostly flat or gently sloping

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Neusiedler See 115 m
highest point: Grossglockner 3,797 m

Natural resources: iron ore, oil, timber, magnesite, lead, coal, lignite, copper, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 17%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 23%
forests and woodland: 39%
other: 20% (1996 est.)

Irrigated land: 40 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment—current issues: some forest degradation caused by air and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of agricultural chemicals; air pollution results from emissions by coal- and oil-fired power stations and industrial plants and from trucks transiting Austria between northern and southern Europe

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol

Geography—note: landlocked; strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys; major river is the Danube; population is concentrated on eastern lowlands because of steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures elsewhere

People

[Top of Page]

Population: 8,133,611 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 17% (male 709,890; female 673,696)
15-64 years: 68% (male 2,783,569; female 2,707,113)
65 years and over: 15% (male 471,924; female 787,419) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.05% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 9.89 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.05 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.59 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.16 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.31 years
male: 74.13 years
female: 80.67 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.37 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Austrian(s)
adjective: Austrian

Ethnic groups: German 99.4%, Croatian 0.3%, Slovene 0.2%, other 0.1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 78%, Protestant 5%, other 17%

Languages: German

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1974 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%

Government

[Top of Page]

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Austria
conventional short form: Austria
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
local short form: Oesterreich

Data code: AU

Government type: federal republic

National capital: Vienna

Administrative divisions: 9 states (bundeslaender, singular—bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten, Niederoesterreich, Oberoesterreich, Salzburg, Steiermark, Tirol, Vorarlberg, Wien

Independence: 1156 (from Bavaria)

National holiday: National Day, 26 October (1955)

Constitution: 1920; revised 1929 (reinstated 1 May 1945)

Legal system: civil law system with Roman law origin; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court; separate administrative and civil/penal supreme courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; compulsory for presidential elections

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Thomas KLESTIL (since 8 July 1992)
head of government: Chancellor Viktor KLIMA (since 28 January 1997); Vice Chancellor Wolfgang SCHUESSEL (since 22 April 1995)
cabinet: Council of Ministers chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; presidential election last held 24 May 1992 (next to be held 19 April 1998); chancellor chosen by the president from the majority party in the National Council; vice chancellor chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
election results: Thomas KLESTIL elected president; percent of vote, second ballot—Thomas KLESTIL 57%, Rudolf STREICHER 43%

Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of Federal Council or Bundesrat (64 members; members represent each of the provinces on the basis of population, but with each province having at least three representatives; members serve a four- or six-year term) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: National Council—last held 17 December 1995 (next to be held Fall 1999)
election results: National Council—percent of vote by party—SPOe 38.3%, OeVP 28.3%, FPOe 22.1%, LF 5.3%, Greens 4.6%, other 1.4%; seats by party—SPOe 71, OeVP 53, FPOe 40, LF 10, Greens 9

Judicial branch: Supreme Judicial Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof; Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof

Political parties and leaders: Social Democratic Party of Austria or SPOe [Viktor KLIMA, chairman]; Austrian People's Party or OeVP [Wolfgang SCHUESSEL, chairman]; Freedom Party of Austria or FPOe [Joerg HAIDER, chairman]; Communist Party or KPOe [Walter BEIER, chairman]; The Greens or GA [Madeleine PETROVIC, parliamentary caucus floor leader and Alexander VAN DER BELLEN, party spokesman]; Liberal Forum or LF [Heide SCHMIDT]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Federal Chamber of Trade and Commerce; Austrian Trade Union Federation (primarily Socialist) or OeGB; three composite leagues of the Austrian People's Party or OeVP representing business, labor, and farmers; OeVP-oriented League of Austrian Industrialists or VOeI; Roman Catholic Church, including its chief lay organization, Catholic Action

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CCC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINUGUA, MINURSO, MTCR, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU (observer), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Helmut TUERK
chancery: 3524 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008-3035
telephone: [1] (202) 895-6700
FAX: [1] (202) 895-6750
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kathryn Walt HALL
embassy: Boltzmanngasse 16, A-1091, Vienna
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [43] (1) 313-39
FAX: [43] (1) 310-0682

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red

Economy

[Top of Page]

Economy—overview: Austria, a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995, has a well-developed market economy with a high standard of living. With exports of goods and services reaching over 40% of GDP, Austria's economy is closely integrated with other EU member countries, especially with Germany. Austria's entry into the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market. Austria is well on its way to meeting all Maastricht convergence criteria for monetary union, through privatization efforts, the 1996-98 budget consolidation programs, and austerity measures, which were expected to bring total public sector deficit down to 3% of GDP in 1997 and public debt in line with the 60% of GDP required by the EU. Cuts mainly affect the civil service and Austria's generous social system, the two major causes of the government deficit. To meet increased competition from both the EU and Central European countries, Austria will need to emphasize knowledge-based sectors of the economy and deregulate the service sector, particularly telecommunications and the energy sector. Economic prospects are expected to brighten in 1998 with GDP growth projected to be 2.5%.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$174.1 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 2.1% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$21,400 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.5%
industry: 31.6%
services: 66.9% (1996)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 1.3% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 3.646 million (1996)
by occupation: services 66.1%, industry and crafts 29.6%, agriculture and forestry 1.3% (salaried employees, 1996)
note: an estimated 150,000 Austrians are employed abroad; foreign laborers in Austria number 298,000 (1996)

Unemployment rate: 7.1% (January 1998)

Budget:
revenues: $53.6 billion
expenditures: $61.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries: food, iron and steel, machines, textiles, chemicals, electrical, paper and pulp, tourism, mining, motor vehicles

Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1996)

Electricity—capacity: 15.65 million kW (1996)

Electricity—production: 54.8 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 6,900 kWh (1996)

Agriculture—products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine, fruit, dairy products; cattle, pigs, poultry; sawn wood

Exports:
total value: $57.8 billion (1996)
commodities: machinery and equipment, iron and steel, lumber, textiles, paper products, chemicals
partners: EU 64.7% (Germany 37.7%, Italy 8.5%), Eastern Europe 14.9%, Japan 1.5%, US 3.1% (1996)

Imports:
total value: $67.3 billion (1996)
commodities: petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, vehicles, chemicals, textiles and clothing, pharmaceuticals
partners: EU 70.7% (Germany 42.8%, Italy 8.7%), Eastern Europe 10%, Japan 2.4%, US 4.5% (1996)

Debt—external: $29.4 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
donor: ODA, $480 million; assistance to central and eastern Europe $400 million (1996)

Currency: 1 Austrian schilling (AS) = 100 groschen

Exchange rates: Austrian schillings (AS) per US$1—12.776 (January 1998), 12.204 (1997), 10.587 (1996), 10.081 (1995), 11.422 (1994), 11.632 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

[Top of Page]

Telephones: 3.47 million (1986 est.)
note: 88% of all households had telephones in the 1993 census

Telephone system:
domestic: highly developed and efficient
international: satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 2 Eutelsat

Radio broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 105 (repeaters 684), shortwave 0

Radios: 70% of all households indicated that they had radios in the 1993 census

Television broadcast stations: 57 (repeaters 914)

Televisions: 2,418,584 (1984 est.)
note: 91% of households indicated that they had televisions in the 1993 census

Transportation

[Top of Page]

Railways:
total: 5,636 km
standard gauge: 5,294 km 1.435-m gauge (3,263 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 342 km 1.000-m and 0.760-m gauge (84 km electrified) (1996)

Highways: 129,055 km
paved: 129,055 km (including 1,607 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 356 km (1996)

Pipelines: crude oil 777 km; natural gas 909.1 km

Ports and harbors: Linz, Vienna, Enns, Krems

Merchant marine:
total: 25 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 84,103 GRT/114,616 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 19, combination bulk 2, container 1, refrigerated cargo 2 (1997 est.)

Airports: 55 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 20
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 10 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 35
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 31 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)

Military

[Top of Page]

Military branches: Army (includes Flying Division)

Military manpower—military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 2,098,409 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,744,035 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 46,854 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $1.8 billion (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 0.83% (1998 est.)

Transnational Issues

[Top of Page]

Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and South American cocaine destined for Western Europe