Nation at a Glance - Austria

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.

Location: Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia

Border Countries: Czech Republic 402 km, Germany 801 km, Hungary 321 km, Italy 404 km, Liechtenstein 34 km, Slovakia 105 km, Slovenia 299 km, Switzerland 158 km

Total Area: 83,871 sq km Land: 82,445 sq km Water: 1,426 sq km

Climate: Temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers

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

Natural resources: Oil, coal, lignite, timber, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, magnesite, tungsten, graphite, salt, hydropower

Land use: Agricultural land: 38.4% arable land 16.5%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 21.1% Forest: 47.2% Other: 14.4% (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups: Austrians 91.1%, former Yugoslavs 4% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Serbs, and Bosniaks), Turks 1.6%, Germans 0.9%, Other or unspecified 2.4% (2001 census)

Languages: German (official nationwide) 88.6%, Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, Other (includes Slovene, official in South Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3% (2001 est.)

Religions: Catholic 73.8% (includes Roman Catholic 73.6%, other Catholic 0.2%), Protestant 4.9%, Muslim 4.2%, Orthodox 2.2%, Other 0.8% (includes other Christian), None 12%, Unspecified 2% (2001 est.)

Population: 8,711,770 (July 2016 est.)

Administrative divisions: 9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten (Carinthia), Niederoesterreich (Lower Austria), Oberoesterreich (Upper Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol (Tyrol), Vorarlberg, Wien (Vienna)

Economy: Austria, with its well-developed market economy, skilled labor force, and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. Its economy features a large service sector, a relatively sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. Economic growth has been relatively weak in recent years, approaching 1% in 2015, but rising to 2.3% in 2017. Austria's 5.8% unemployment rate, while low by European standards, is at its highest rate since the end of World War II, driven by an increased number of refugees and EU migrants entering the labor market. Without extensive vocational training programs and generous early retirement, the unemployment rate would be even higher. Although Austria's fiscal position compares favorably with other euro-zone countries, it faces several external risks, such as unexpectedly weak world economic growth threatening the export market, Austrian banks' continued exposure to Central and Eastern Europe, repercussions from the Hypo Alpe Adria bank collapse, political and economic uncertainties caused by the European sovereign debt crisis, the current refugee crisis, and continued unrest in Russia/Ukraine. The budget deficit stood at 1% of GDP in 2017 and public debt declined slightly to 81.7% of GDP in 2017 after reaching a post-war high of 84.6% in 2016.

Agriculture - products: Grains, potatoes, wine, fruit; dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry; lumber and other forestry products

Industries: Construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, lumber, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, tourism

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