Foreigners in Austria: More Than a Quarter of the Austrian Population Has a Migration Background

Lifestyle & Travel ♦ Published: July 28, 2022; 10:14 ♦ (Vindobona)

A new study by Statistics Austria analysed the countries of origin of Austrians and found that more than a quarter of the Austrian population has a migration background. If you want to know where most foreigners in Austria come from and how much the proportion has increased in recent years, read on.

Foreigners in Austria come from all over the world. / Picture: © EU European Commission

About a quarter of the Austrian population has a migration background. This is confirmed by a new study by Statistik Austria, which analysed the countries of origin of Austria's inhabitants. It arrived at a total of 2.24 million people with a migration background - around 25.4% of the total population.

What is interesting here is the growth in the proportion of people with a migration background. In 2015, only 1.81 million lived in Austria. Thus, a total growth of 24% or 430,000 additional persons with a migration background was recorded in the last 7 years.

Tobias Thomas, Statistics Austria Director General, blames this strong growth in foreigners on the steadily increasing number of immigrants to Austria: "Austria's population grows solely through immigration; without it, the population would fall back to the level of the 1950s in the long term, according to population forecasts. Since 2015, the share of the population with a migration background has risen continuously from 21.4% to 25.4%. One driver of integration is personal contact: The more often people born in Austria and immigrants have direct contact, the more often they report positively about living together."

Incidentally, people with a migration background include all persons whose parents were both born abroad. People with only one parent born in Austria do not have a migration background according to this definition. The country of birth of the mother is decisive for the assignment of the country of origin.

The statistics also show the number of foreign nationals living in Austria. Traditionally, Germans are the largest group of immigrants in Austria. This year, Austria's favourite neighbours are by far the largest immigrant group with a total of 217,000 persons.

They are followed by Romanians with 118,000 persons and Serbs with 122,000. The Turkish population is in fourth place with 118,000 persons. The refugees from Syria, who were the subject of much discussion during the refugee crisis in the course of the war in Syria, are in 8th place with 68,000 people. A total of 1,587,000 foreigners live in Austria.

The fastest-growing foreign community in Austria so far in 2022 is, unsurprisingly, the Ukrainian population. The population influx triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which spread throughout Europe, multiplied the number of Ukrainians in Austria from about 13,000 to 53,000 as of the beginning of April, which is the cut-off date for the study. Currently, however, there are probably already more than 72,000 Ukrainians in Austria.

Social media important for migrants

For the first time, the Integration Survey 2022 also surveyed the frequency of use of different types of media as well as the language in which the media were used. Social media on the internet play a much greater role for the foreign-born population than for those born in Austria.

While 49% of those born in Austria used social media daily, the figure was 63% for people born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia or Turkey, and 76% for those born in Afghanistan, Syria or the Russian Federation.

In contrast, daily television viewing was significantly more common among those born in Austria (77%) and immigrants from Bosnia, Serbia or Turkey (66%) than among those born in Afghanistan, Syria or the Russian Federation (45%).

Statistics Austria