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Destinations - Europe - Vienna - World Facts

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.

Population

8,210,281 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92

Location

Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia

Language

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)

Area
Total: 83,871 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 113
Land: 82,445 sq km
Water: 1,426 sq km

People

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)

Economy

Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. Its economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. Following several years of solid foreign demand for Austrian exports and record employment growth, the international financial crisis and global economic downturn in 2008 led to a recession that persisted until the third quarter of 2009. Austrian GDP contracted 3.5% in 2009 but it will probably see positive growth of nearly 2% in 2010. Unemployment has not risen as steeply in Austria as elsewhere in Europe, partly because its government has subsidized reduced working hour schemes to allow companies to retain employees. Such stabilization measures, stimulus initiatives, and the government's income tax reforms pushed the budget deficit to about 4% of GDP in 2009, from only about 1.3% in 2008. The Austrian economy has benefited greatly in the past from strong commercial relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, with central, eastern, and southeastern Europe, but these sectors have been vulnerable to recent international financial instabilities. Some of Austria's largest banks have required government support - including in some instances, nationalization - to prevent insolvency and possible regional contagion. In the medium-term all large Austrian banks will need additional capital. Even after the global economic outlook improves, Austria will need to continue restructuring, emphasizing knowledge-based sectors of the economy, and encouraging greater labor flexibility and greater labor participation to offset growing unemployment and Austria's aging population and exceedingly low fertility rate.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity)

$323.1 billion (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 37
$335.1 billion (2008 est.)
$328.5 billion (2007 est.)

Note: data are in 2009 US dollars

*Source: Central Intelligence Agency

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