How Austria's Population is Developing

PeopleOther ♦ Published: November 15, 2022; 22:46 ♦ (Vindobona)

Around eight billion people currently live on earth. According to the UN, this figure will rise to around ten billion by the end of the century. According to the latest forecasts, the trend in Europe and Austria is different. Read more about the United Nations World Population Prospects 2022!

Over the last ten years, the largest migration in Europe has been from rural to urban areas. / Picture: © Vienna City Administration

Population trends are not a cause for concern, said Natalia Kanem, head of the UN Population Fund. It is a "combination of longer life expectancy, lower maternal and infant mortality, and increasingly effective health systems."

Population trends in Europe vary dramatically by country and by region. While the European population grew from 355 million to 447 million from 1960 to 2022, according to Eurostat, it is expected to decline slightly by 2100. The total sum of all people in Europe will nevertheless remain relatively stable, according to UN forecasts.

There is a clear divide between South, Southeast, Eastern Europe and West, Northern Europe. Austria is in the middle of the rankings with a projected population increase of 0.4 percent by 2050.

For the Eurostat models, the national censuses of the various countries are processed. The future forecasts take into account migration, birth rate, mortality, life expectancy and various other factors.

In the future, migration will strongly determine in many European countries, including Austria, whether their population will grow or shrink. Especially between Austria, Germany and Switzerland, for example, there is great competition for well-educated immigrants. This is because the birth rate in Europe is no longer changing very much. In wealthy countries with good access to education for women, they usually have fewer children. This global trend is considered to be relatively stable.

However, this perspective on country borders obscures a dynamic that is much stronger in many places than migration across country borders. A look at population trends in Europe over the last ten years shows that the largest migration in Europe is from rural to urban areas.

In terms of population change by 2050, there is up to 22% of the urban population. According to Eurostat, the population of the Vienna metropolitan area, for example, grew by 300,000 people from 2011 to 2021 to around 2.9 million (city plus surrounding area). The growth rate of eleven percent is among the highest in Europe, along with Oslo, Zurich and Dublin.

World population growth mainly outside Europe

Much of the growth through 2050 is concentrated in just eight countries: India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania. By contrast, China's population, long the front-runner in population growth, has been growing at a slower rate since it began its one-child policy - which has since been abandoned. India is expected to replace China as the most populous country as early as next year.

United Nations Population Division