10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Austria
The Republic of Austria is a nation wedged within Central Europe. Many consider its water quality as one of the highest in Europe and several NGOs are working towards bringing the nation’s economic and environmental sustainability up to par with the EU. Here are 10 facts about life expectancy in Austria.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Austria

  1. Since 2000, life expectancy in Austria has increased by three years. Currently, the life expectancy average in Austria is 82-years-old which is more than the OECD average of 80-years-old. However, averages between women and men differ as the average for women is 84-years-old and the average for men is 79-years-old.
  2. Despite the World Health Organization’s guideline limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5 air pollutants, Austria exceeds it by 6.3 micrograms. According to a 2017 WHO publication, the fact that Austrian residents often heat with wood and coal contribute to the nation’s pollution. As a result, affected Austrians experience respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer. Lower respiratory problems are the sixth highest cause of death in Austria.
  3. In order to improve the nation’s air quality, VCÖ-Mobilität mit Zukunft works to bring efficient mobility to the country. Founded in 1988, VCÖ develops projects with Austria’s decision-makers aimed at lowering emissions. Since its inception, VCÖ has produced publications arguing for climate-friendly transportation. Moreover, in 2018, VCÖ conducted a railroad test with 10,000 Austrians to exemplify that Austrian railroads need new offerings to improve the nation’s air quality.
  4. Adding to the 10 facts about life expectancy in Austria, about 92 percent of residents in Austria are satisfied with their water quality. In 1959, due to the nation’s high levels of wastewater, the Austrian federal government implemented the Austrian Water Act. The Act included initiatives that work to reduce wastewater. In order to achieve this mission, the Austrian government established monitoring programs to test the nation’s bodies of water for pollutants. As a result of running these tests and implementing wastewater purification plants and a larger sewage system, Austria reduced its waste-water and improved the nation’s water quality.
  5. When it comes to security, the majority of Austrians feel safe in their country. Around 81 percent of Austrians say they feel safe at night. Austria’s homicide rate of 0.5 ranks as one of the lowest rates in the OECD.
  6. A recent report from WHO states that the leading causes of death in Austria are cardiovascular disease and cancer. Diabetes and dementia rates have also increased and worked their way up into the top 10 causes of death. Despite the rise in various diseases, however, around 70 percent of Austrians believe the are in good health.
  7. Around 99.9 percent of Austrians receive health-care coverage. In 2012, the Federal government covered 29 percent of Austrians’ health expenditures while health insurance funds covered 44.8 percent. Given that the majority of Austrians’ have covered health care, Austrians have a strong access to health care that contributes to their health and life expectancy.
  8. Following a 2009 GDP fall, Austria’s household capacity plateaued while basic living costs increased. As a result, Austria’s impoverished population increased through 2015. Due to a lack of resources, impoverished Austrians are less likely to afford health care, and therefore, are at risk for poor health. In order to find solutions for impoverished Austrians, Austria ASAP launched in 2013 and worked toward enhancing academics’ impact on poverty. Since its inception, Austria ASAP has released publications debunking social presumptions about Austrians living in poverty.
  9. In comparison to other European countries, Austria’s public spending on health is low. In 2015, Germany and Sweden spent between 18 and 21 percent of total government spending on health care. Meanwhile, Austria only utilized 15.1 percent of its total government spending. Given the public spending is lower in Austria than in other nations, Austrians experience less financial security and are at a higher risk of impoverishment due to health care costs.
  10. Amongst the countries in the EU, Austria is below average in resource productivity. Austria produces EUR 1.79 per kilogram in comparison to the EU average of EUR 2.04 per kilogram. Therefore, in March 2018, several NGOs launched the Circular Futures Platform to transition Austria into a circular economy. The Circular Economy Action Plan mission intends to eventually put an end to lower residual waste and reduce the toxins polluting the environment and attributing to 3,000-4,000 Austrian deaths every year.

Through an analysis of increasing life expectancy and high health insurance coverage, these 10 facts about life expectancy in Austria demonstrate why the nation ranks high on the Better Life Index. With increased efforts to improve the economy and air quality, Austria can become a model nation for the world.

– Niyat Ogbazghi
Photo: Flickr


Living Conditions in AustriaAs a landlocked nation, Austria works closely with other countries in the European Union (EU) on different issues. Therefore, Austria has a well-developed economy that is closely tied to Germany and other powerful EU nations. Austria is a confederation of nine autonomous states with sound industrial and agricultural economic sectors. Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Austria.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Austria

  1. Wealth Gap: There is a rising wealth gap in Austria. Between 1990 and 2011, the share of the economy that the poorest 20 percent held dropped by 47 percent while the share that the richest 1 percent held rose by 16 percent. Experts believe that the biggest factor in the rising wealth gap is an increasing education gap between the rich and the poor. In Austria, children with college-educated parents are 2.5 times more likely to attend college themselves. Increased postsecondary education leads to higher wages as citizens earn 5.4 percent more money with each additional year of schooling past what their country mandates.
  2. Gender Inequality: Gender differences are evident in Austrian society. While women tend to have more education, they still earn 23.4 percent less per hour than their male counterparts. Women also tend to own less property than men. On average, a single, male household holds 40 percent more wealth than a single, female household. One of the main reasons driving this economic inequality is the Austrian welfare system, which helps promote traditionalist values through its benefit programs.
  3. The Welfare System: Austria has an extensive, two-tiered welfare system. The first tier covers personal insurance for employed citizens during instances of sickness, accident, sudden unemployment and parental leave. The second tier provides for those who are struggling with employment and offers federal, provincial and municipal benefits. There are a few benefits that are accessible to the entire population including family allowance and child tax credit, childcare allowance and health insurance. A family receives the family allowance based upon the number and age of children as well as a family’s income.
  4. Health Care: Austria has a socialized health care system. The current system covers 99 percent of citizens and accounts for 7 percent of the country’s GDP. Many citizens gain insurance through their employers, but these plans identify 25 percent of citizens as co-dependents. Furthermore, access to medical care is widespread and easily available. Currently, there are 64,000 hospital beds that span across 267 different hospitals. One of the main benefits accessible to all is the Patient Safety Guide, which informs citizens of standard procedures before visits, allowing visits to doctors to be as productive as possible.
  5. Religion: Religion plays a major role in living conditions in Austria. Austria has acknowledged religious freedom as a right since the Patents of Tolerance signed in 1871. Today, the Austrian legal system qualifies itself as religiously-neutral and churches have a great deal of autonomy when dealing with internal affairs. Because of their autonomy, churches receive funding through required member’s fees. Also, the right of an individual to choose his or her own religion remains sacred. At the age of 14, citizens can choose a Church, or none at all, without parental notification or consent. As a whole, Austria is a very religious nation as 88 percent identify themselves as a member of a church (compared to 77 percent in the United States). According to 2011 statistics, 64 percent of Austrian identify as Roman Catholic, making it the largest church in the country.
  6. Education: Austrians have access to free public education. Currently, the government mandates nine years of schooling for every child and schools offer vocational and university tracks. The university tracks lead to an additional one to four years of education at a secondary or post-secondary school. All funding for the schools, at any level, comes from the Federal Ministry of Education. However, even with education opportunities, Austria still lacks in literacy scores when compared to the rest of the EU. Only 13 percent of young adults (ages 25 to 34) have achieved high scores on the Survey of Adult Skills. The reason behind this is most likely the low graduation rate among those attending secondary or post-secondary universities and colleges. While 83 percent of young citizens attend some sort of secondary education, only 38.9 percent will actually graduate. Furthermore, of those pursuing secondary education, 76 percent attend vocational schools.
  7. Water: All Austrians have access to clean water, which helps greatly with living conditions in Austria. Austria ties with 21 other countries for first in the Environmental Performance Index for water and sanitation. One hundred percent of citizens have access to improved water sources — those that have protection from outside contamination. Fifty percent of water comes from springs while the other 50 percent is from various groundwater sources. One of the main reasons for Austria’s success in this category is its adoption of the EU Water Framework Directive, which helps to set specific environmental goals regarding surface water, analyzing characteristics of river basins and the effect human activity has on water sources. All of this work has helped Austria prevent its water from becoming contaminated.
  8. Poverty Rate: Poverty rates are low but impact children the most. Only 4 percent of Austrians live below the poverty line, which is measured as half of the median household revenue of the population. Less than 1 percent of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day, meaning the majority of citizens live comfortably in Austria. However, children are the most at-risk for poverty. Around 9 percent of children live in households that fall below the poverty line. Additionally, these children are the most at-risk for bullying in schools. Many (17.5 percent) children from poor households report that others have bullied them because of their family’s income level.
  9. Crime: Crime rates remain low in Austria. As of 2016, the murder rate in Austria was 0.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. The rape rate stood at 9.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. The total number of homicides in 2016 was 57. For comparison, there were 57 in Slovakia, 65 in the Czech Republic, 202 in Turkey and 17,250 in the U.S.
  10. Cost of Living: The cost of living in Austria remains relatively low. Compared to the United States, it is 1.87 percent more expensive to live in Austria. However, rent is roughly 30 percent cheaper in Austria. In comparison to the EU, Austria falls somewhere in the middle. The average salary is roughly 1,900 euros per month, which ranks in the top 10 of all the EU. Common items and transportation prices are also middling in comparison to the EU. For example, a bottle of water tends to cost 2.09 euros, which is in the middle of the 1.20 to 2.50 EU range. Local transportation, like buses and taxies, costs roughly 2.40 euros. This is toward the higher end of the 2.20-2.50 EU range, but still not incredibly expensive.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Austria give an insight into what life is like for its citizens. Those who live in Austria have easy access to health along with a wide variety of social benefits. As a whole, Austria is a stable nation with a strong economy and a healthy population.

– Andrew Edwards
Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Austria

Water quality is important to any community, as it prevents illness, promotes the economy and ensures that citizens are healthy. Austria is considered one of Europe’s most water-wealthy countries, and the water quality in Austria is excellent. Austria witnesses on average 1,100 mm of precipitation each year. 50 percent of the drinking water in Austria comes from groundwater and the other 50 percent comes from springs.

Austria is ranked number one in the Environmental Performance Index (tied with 21 other countries) for water and sanitation. 100 percent of people in Austria have access to drinking water and sanitation. Drinking water sources are improved, meaning they are protected from outside contamination, in 100 percent of both urban and rural areas.

Despite already having high rankings for water and sanitation, Austria has also implemented efforts to improve its environment and water quality. One of these is The Environmental Impact Assessment Act of 2005, which assesses the effects that planned projects will have on the environment and its inhabitants, both humans and animals. The program has resulted in the water quality of Austrian lakes to rise to commendable levels.

Austria also implemented the EU Water Framework Directive, amending the preexisting Austrian Water Act. Meant to ensure quality water for EU citizens, the directive is meant to set specific environmental goals regarding groundwater and and surface waters, analyze the characteristics of river basins and the effect that human activity has on them and prevent further deterioration of aquatic ecosystems. The goal of these actions is to make access to quality water secure and sustainable, maintain and restore the near-natural state of bodies of water and to prevent contamination of water.

Along with stellar water and sanitation levels, Austrians also enjoy a ranking of eight out of 178 countries for overall Environmental Performance Index with a score of 78.32 out of 100. With its already good conditions and continued commitments to improve them, Austria is a model to the world of how to provide clean water to a country’s citizens.

Téa Franco

Photo: Flickr

Education in Austria

Education is always essential regarding the success of the social and economic future of a country, and education in Austria is no exception. The Republic of Austria has a free and public school system, and nine years of education are mandatory throughout the nation from the ages of six to fifteen, or first to ninth grade.

In Austria, there are multiple levels of education for citizens of all ages. When it comes to children ranging from the ages of zero to six, these students are taken care of in nurseries called Kinderkrippen. Kindergarteners range from the ages of three to six years old, and very young children that are usually around the age of two are looked after in small groups by day parents called Tagesmütter, and are found mostly in smaller towns and rural areas.

The first four years of schooling is completed at primary schools called Volksschule or Grundschule. From the age of ten, children are able to attend a junior high school or a secondary school called Hauptschule or Cooperative Mittelschule. Once children have entered into ninth grade at the ages of 14 or 15, they will be schooled at a polytechinical school called a Polytechnische Schule, which will ultimately prepare students for vocational orientation, an apprenticeship or even for more schooling.

Education in Austria does not stop at grade nine, however. There are many apprenticeships that students can pursue, and about 250 apprenticeship training courses exist that last between three and four years. Their occupation is learned on the job and at the school simultaneously. These students will then go on to take a final exam and become either a skilled technician or craftsman.

There are also Austrian universities and colleges that a citizen can attend, including adults. The Matura is a graduation examination that is a prerequisite for higher education in the nation.

While the standard of education in Austria may not exactly be on par with that of the United Kingdom or the United States, those considering relocating to Austria can still expect for their children to receive a sound education. Overall, the quality of education in Austria is quite good, as state schools provide a schooling that is very high in comparison to other educational systems within Europe.

Sara Venusti

Photo: Google

Human Rights in Austria
While holding a position as a peaceful and democratic society, Austria‘s human rights record still leaves something to be desired. On the one hand, Austria chooses its leaders in free and fair multiparty elections, and freedom of the press is alive and well; however, there are still many complex institutional problems with human rights in Austria.

In 2008, there were several reports of excessive force by police, societal discrimination against Muslims, Jews and members of unrecognized religious groups, violence against women and children and human trafficking. In addition, several isolated incidents were reported of neo-Nazi and xenophobic extremism towards members of minority groups.

Complaints of police ill-treatment towards minorities are still often met with insufficient investigation and action both by the police and the judicial system. In a study done by the Vienna-based EU Fundamental Rights Agency, over 50 percent of immigrants and minorities believe that Austria has a widespread problem of discrimination.

Going hand in hand with this sentiment, racial profiling is also a major threat to human rights in Austria. For example, in 2009, the Viennese police based a large-scale operation almost entirely on racial profiling; after a string of burglaries, the police carried out searches of all houses known to be owned by people of Georgian or Moldovan origin, all without any grounds of suspicion.

This comes along with several other incidents of police discrimination around the same time, including the killings of a Chechen asylum seeker and a Sikh religious leader, both of which were under-investigated. It was later revealed that in both cases the Austrian police had ignored warnings or requests for personal protection.

This police mistreatment can even go so far as torture, as in the case of Bakary J., a Gambian citizen who was tortured by three Viennese police officers in 2006 when it became apparent that he was residing in the country illegally.

While authorities were at fault for failing to implement safeguards against torture and have not revised any official protocol, the Disciplinary Appeal Commission decided to fire two of the three officers involved and cut off the pension of the third.

Since these incidents, human rights in Austria have come to the forefront of the country’s consciousness. In 2011, Austria was officially elected as a member of the Human Rights Council by the U.N. General Assembly. With this new membership, Austria pledged to combat threats to women’s rights, failure of law enforcement and human trafficking. Also, there is a priority for protection of freedom of religion and the protection of religious minorities.

These are important first steps but, like many countries, Austria still struggles with racism and the role of police. Through these conflicts, the country will work to improve human rights for all its citizens.

Audrey Palzkill

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Austria

Austria is a nation with nearly 8.7 million citizens that lies in the center of Europe. In 2015, Austria was deemed one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Because of this large statistic, only four percent of the population fall beneath the poverty line. Consequently, the poverty rate in Austria very small.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the poverty rate is the ratio of the number of people whose earnings fall below the poverty line. The poverty line is half the median household revenue of the total population. The World Factbook shows poverty is on the minor end of the spectrum in Austria but, despite low percentages, continues to exist.

Children 17 years old and younger are most affected. A 2016 OECD report shows that 9.1 percent of Austrian children live in a household with a disposable income of less than half of the Austrian median income. This number was seven percent in 2007. It is also interesting to note that among children living in Austria, 17.5 percent say that they have been bullied in the last two months. This is the second highest share in the OECD area.

In an evaluation of Austria’s well-being for 2016, the country performed close to the OECD average. Austrian households have higher net adjusted disposable income and experience lower work insecurity.

However, The Economic Survey of Austria of 2017 shows Austria is struggling to adjust towards digitalization. Digital transformation is altering the relationship between the wealthy and the poor. Well-educated people are adjusting quickly to global trends in technology, while older generations, the less educated and immigrants are falling behind. This creates unequal opportunity within the country and raises questions about those on the lower end entering the future workforce.

While Austria continues to struggle with growing child poverty rates and the digital era, 94.4 percent of Austrians are satisfied with the quality of water and air in the region. In regard to support, 92.5 percent of Austrians report having friends or relatives that they can rely on in times of trouble.

Based on economic status and results of well-being, the poverty rate in Austria can be drastically reduced. A possible solution to Austria’s largest problems could be an increase in the state budget for welfare assistance. The State could also create support structures for children being bullied or coming into school systems from low-income families. Equal opportunity and digital training must also be available for anyone entering the workforce so that older generations, the less educated and immigrants don’t get left behind.

Emilee Wessel

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in Austria
Compared to some other countries, Austria is fairly lucky with its resources and success. With a lot of access to potable water and a GDP of $386.4, Austria appears to be doing well. However, like the rest of the world, the people of Austria also suffer from medical conditions.

Due to the fact that clean water is widely available in the nation, Austrians are not very prone to waterborne illnesses, such as cholera and dysentery. Austrians tend to suffer more from diseases that are affected by genetics and lifestyles.

The top five common diseases in Austria that cause the most deaths are Alzheimer’s, lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, COPD and cerebrovascular disease — all of which are noncommunicable.

Statistics prove that Austrians drink a substantial amount more than their European peers. According to research, they are the second largest alcohol consumers in the OECD. In a study, only 10 percent of Austrians stated that they didn’t consume any alcohol in the prior year. In addition to their high alcohol intake, Austrians also have high tobacco consumption rates — more than half of Austrian men ages 18 to 28 smoke.

Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco excessively leads to health problems. The top common diseases in Austria listed above consider either smoking or drinking as risk factors.

While one cannot really control their genes, they can control their lifestyle. Austria is making an effort to reduce the amount of tobacco consumption, so that they can eventually reduce the number of cases for the noncommunicable diseases that strike the nation. In 2009, the country banned smoking in public places, excluding restaurants and cafes. By 2018, Austria plans to ban smoking in restaurants and cafes, as well.

Although the country still has room to improve, it has still made a lot of progress. By taking measures such as banning smoking in public places, Austria is making it harder for its people to continue their unhealthy habits. Implementing policies to reduce risk factors, such as drinking and smoking, puts Austria on the right path toward healthier lifestyles and less noncommunicable diseases.

Raven Rentas

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Austria
Austria is a large European country with a population of more than 8.5 million people. The water quality in Austria is quite good compared to other places around Europe. It is a developed country with infrastructure that allows the nation access to clean drinking water.

The annual precipitation in Austria is around 1,100 mm making it one of the most water-wealthy countries in Europe and around the world. About half of the drinking water in Austria comes from groundwater resources while the other half comes from springs. Water consumption amounts to approximately 135 liters a day per person.

Having clean drinking water is the most important thing a country can have, it is essential for citizens living a healthy lifestyle. Using it for purposes such as showering, washing laundry, sanitation and personal hygience is essential for allowing a household to run smoothly. Austria has no shortage of that availability.

Austria does not just look toward always improving their water situation, they are looking to help out countries that are still developing and don’t have the access to clean water. The Austrian Development Agency has supported developing countries in their efforts in setting up water supply that is sustainable and is able to produce clean water. Austria is a country that is powerful enough to help the countries around it, and prioritizes giving access to clean water and sanitation to people in Albania, Moldova, Mozambique, Palestine and Uganda. Aid of this nature is something that all developed countries with clean water can do to help out the countries where most live in poverty with no access.

The water quality in Austria is one of the best in the world. Not only are they constantly improving their own water systems, they are looking to help out other countries.

Brendin Axtman

Photo: Flickr

Austria is a beautiful country nestled in the Alps with a rich cultural and musical history. When floods of immigrants, mostly from Syria, poured over its borders in 2015, Austria became a focal point for global forced displacement. Because of the sheer volume of immigrants passing through, Austrian refugees face difficulties earlier generations did not.

  1. Austria has a long history of embracing refugees. Most of the 200,000 people who fled during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 became refugees in Austria. The Prague Spring in 1968 and the Balkan Wars of 1995 also resulted in thousands of Austrian refugees
  2. Half of Vienna’s current 1.8 million residents are of immigrant origin, including Hungarians, Czechs, Poles, refugees from the Balkan Wars, Afghans and Turks.
  3. In the fall of 2015, 788,000 migrants traveled through Austria, many on their way to Germany and Scandinavia. Most fled from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq — 300,000 came through Vienna in a matter of weeks.
  4. Unemployment in Austria during 2016 was 8.3 percent, the highest rate since the ’50s (higher than after the global financial crisis) and impacting competition for jobs for Austrian refugees seeking asylum.
  5. During the first days of the crisis, Vienna set up a Refugee Coordination Centre and erected 65 emergency shelters, which included 10,600 beds. The city’s police and social service groups worked with international nongovernmental organizations to help with immediate needs.
  6. An old army barracks outside Vienna called the Traiskirchen center housed 4,800. Originally set up to sleep 1,000, many refugees were forced to sleep outdoors. Amnesty International called attention to the deplorable living conditions.
  7. More than 90,000 Austrian refugees applied for asylum by the end of 2015. This is twice as many per capita as in Germany.
  8. One of the worst tragedies of the Syrian crisis occurred near the Austrian border in the town of Parndorf. A refrigerated truck carrying 71 refugees was found abandoned. All the occupants were dead.
  9. Austria has an education policy for the children of refugees. Every child is enrolled in a local school within two weeks of their arrival. They are also offered intensive German language classes and classes on life in Austria. Adult education is also offered.
  10. Some 21,600 refugees remain in Vienna, registered for basic welfare support. Half are in the asylum-seeking process.

The challenge ahead for Austrian refugees: assimilating into a new culture, learning a new language and finding suitable employment.

Jene Cates

Photo: Flickr

Education in Austria is well-known for its quality around the world. After educational reforms the 1960s, the university system has changed from one for the elite to one serving the masses. Following the liberalization of educational policy, specifically at higher level institutions, university enrollment has been boosted by domestic and EU students. Culturally rich, the high-income country offers affordable education for all. Since 2001, tuition and fees have been about $400-$800 per term.

A number of the country’s universities are ranked among the best in the world. Austria has 23 public and 13 private universities, institutions which enjoy a high degree of autonomy. According to QS World University Rankings in 2016-17, the University of Vienna placed 155th in the world and number one in Austria. Founded in 1365 by Duke Rudolph, the University of Vienna is the oldest German-speaking university in the world and has roughly 91,000 students enrolled. Today the institution offers 188 courses from African Studies to Zoology.

In the face of the recent refugee crises, 21 Austrian universities, including the University of Vienna, participated in a program of support called MORE, launched by The Austrian University Conference (UNIKO) in September 2015. The organization helps refugees — whose documents are often lost — to enroll to academic courses, provides an exemption from tuition fees, German language and integration courses.

The initiative also includes many other forms of support such as donations, sports courses and medical support. Most of the universities provide between 15 and 100 places for MORE applicants, who now have an opportunity to receive education in Austria.

Yana Emets

Photo: Flickr