Nearly 1 in 4 Austrians have foreign origins, with integration issues posing a major challenge

The number of migrants in Austria increases sharply

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody

Austria is experiencing rapid demographic changes, with almost one in four people in Austria now of foreign origin, according to the APA agency. Over the last ten years, the foreign share in the total population has increased by more than a third.

Currently, 2.07 million people living in the country came to Austria or were born to immigrants out of an overall population of 8.8 million, according to Echo24.

The share of people with an immigrant background has increased by about 35 percent since 2010. That is primarily due to the migration wave in 2015 when Austria provided protection to approximately 118,000 migrants. To put this into perspective, that equates to more people than the number of citizens in Austria’s sixth-largest city, Klagenfurt.

Grave concerns over integration

The changes wrought by mass migration are easily noticeable, especially in the area of education. The proportion of pupils whose first language is not German increased between 2010 and 2019 from about 17 percent to more than 24 percent.

In cities with an even larger migrant population, this difference is even starker. For example, in what has been labeled a major integration failure, the Austrian government released statistics showing that 51 percent of all students do not speak German at home or as they go about their daily lives The influx of foreigners has also caused strains to the Austria’s welfare system as half of all minimum welfare recipients are foreign nationals as of 2018.

Austria’s rising migrant population has also been tied to rising crime, with former Austrian Family Minister Juliane Bogner-Strauss indicating that over 200 women were murdered in Austria in 2017, and most of those murders were conducted by foreigners despite them making up a smaller foreign share of Austria’s population. 

She said of 203 suspects involved in the murder of women, 126 were foreigners, and of those foreigners, 62 were asylum seekers.

She noted that this was a “clear trend” and that, “You have to take appropriate measures.” 

More broadly speaking, police statistics show that in 2019, 40.1 percent of all criminal suspects were foreigners, as well as 42.8 percent of all convicts and 57.9 percent of all people newly imprisoned in the country.

Austria’s Vienna was the city with the most criminal suspects of foreign origin, with 51.4 percent identified as foreigners in 2018.

Migrants are also experiencing an unfavorable situation on the labor market. Due to the coronavirus crises, the unemployment rate of people with an immigrant background was 74.2 percent higher in June 2020 compared to June 2019. For ethnic Austrians, this indicator rose by 48.8 percent.

Title image: Migrants walk across Elizabeth Bridge over River Danube on their way to Austria from Keleti railway station in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, after the the Austrian and the German government allowed migrants staying in Hungary to enter their countries. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)


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