Demographic History of Austria

Note : this page is conceived telegram-style and selective (lists of wars deemed destructive, lists of epidemic diseases, years of famine etc.)

Aging Society
Deportation & Genocide
Ethnic Minorities : Croats; Gypsies, Slovenes
Religious Minorities : Jews
Epidemic, Pandemic Diseases
Internal Displacement
Labour Migration : Immigration, Emigration
Political Refugees : Emigrants, Immigrants
Population Statistics
Rural Population
Volunteers in Foreign Wars
Wartime Destruction : Battlground Hungary

Aging Society
Due to a decrease in the birth rate and increasing life expectancy, since the 1960es the average age of the Austrian citizen has gradually increased.

Deportation & Genocide
Episodic expulsion of Jews
1598-1732 : Expulsion of Protestants (at first, of teachers and priests) - exulants
1734-1774 : Transmigration of cryptp-Protestants, from Upper, Lower Austria, Carinthia, Styria to Transylvania
1938-1945 : Deportation of c. 50,000 Austrian Jews. mostly to German Concentration Camps in Poland
1938-1945 : Deportation of Austrian Gypsies, mostly to German Concentration Camps in Poland
1942 : Slovenes from southern Carinthia
1945 : Ukrainians, others regarded Soviet citizens (displaced persons), to USSR

Emigration to the U.S.A. (since 1870), with peaks in the late 19th century, the early 1920es, the late 1940es

Ethnic Minorities : Croats
First documented in the territory of modern Austria (Burgenland, historically Hungarian territory) in the early 16th century. Heavily concentrated in the Burgenland; during the period of later Hungarian administration (1879-1918), Nazi rule (1938-1945) subjected to enforced assimilation. The census of 1991 established a Croat minority of almost 30,000, concentrated in the Burgenland and in Vienna.

Ethnic Minorities : Gypsies
First documented in the territory of modern Austria (Burgenland, historically Hungarian territory) in the late 14th century. Heavily concentrated in the Burgenland; 1938-1945 subjected to deportation and genocide. Of the c. 7,000 Sinti in Roma residing in the Burgenland in 1938, less than 1000 survived the genocide. During the Second Republic long denied the status of an ethnic community, the census of 1991 counted 122. Estimates are much higher.

Ethnic Minorities : Slovenes
Concentrated in southeastern Carinthia, where a plebiscite was held in 1920, and in southern Styria. 1918-1920 the situation was tense as 1918-1919 Austrian and Slovene militias fought each other. 1938-1945 the Slovene minority was subjected to pressure. The census of 1991 established a Slovene minority of just over 20,000.

Religious Minorities : Jews
First mentioned in Austria in the late 12th century; Jewish settlement at first was limited to cities. Occasionally exposed to pogroms / expulsions (Korneuburg 1306, Vienna 1406, Austria 1420/1421, Styria 1421, Salzburg 1492, Carinthia and Styria 1496, Tyrol 1520, Lower Austria 1572/1576, Upper and Lower Austria 1670, Esterhazy's possesions (Burgenland) 1671, Tyrol 1748). Patent of Tolerance 1781. During the First Republic the Austrian extreme right was explicitly anti-Semitic. Nazi pogroms, persecution, policy of genocide in Austria 1938-1945. Of a population of c.180,000 Austrian Jews in 1938, about two thirds emigrated; most of ther remainder was deported to concentration camps; a small number managed to live in hiding. The number of Austrian Jews who fell victim to the Holocaust is estimated at c. 70,000.

Epidemic, Pandemic Diseases
Bubonic Plague 1348, 1645 in Neusiedl am See, 1679-1681 in/around Vienna, Burgenland, 1682, 1683 Austria, 1711 Austria, 1713 Burgenland, Vienna
Smallpox Austria 1870
later 19th century Cholera epidemics; 1914-1918 Austria

1317, 1330 (locusts), 1690es (little ice age), 1770-1772, 1846-1847

Internal Displacement
1944-1945 : evacuees due to aerial bombardment
1945- Austrians from the Soviet Zone of Occupation, in Austria's western regions

Labour Migration : Immigration
1657 Walloon armament producers, at Wiener Neustadt
1939-1945 - forced labour, brought into Austria from occupied countries
since 1963 - migrant labour, mainly from Italy, from Yugoslavia, Turkey

Political Refugees : Emigrants
1525-1540 Anabaptists
1598-1732 Lutherans
1938-1945 Social Democrats; Austrofascists, Communists, Jews, Intellectuals

Political Refugees : Immigrants
1831 : Poles
1848 : Germans
1863 : Poles
1880- : Russian, Polish Jews
1933-1938 : Germans
1945-1949 : 237,932 ethnic Germans from eastern European countries
1956-1957 : 180,432 Hungarians
1968 : 162,000 Czechs and Slovaks
1980- : Vietnamese boat people
1981 : 33,142 Poles
1991-1995 : c. 60,000 Yugoslavs

Population Statistics
First conducted in the Habsburg lands in 1754. Laws on population censi 1857, 1869; censi conducted 1869, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1923, 1934, 1951, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001.

Rural Population
Early Middle Ages : Slavic settlement in the eastern regions of Austria (Carantania = Carinthia, Styria, the Burgenland, Lower Austria, parts of Upper Austria; Alemannic settlement in Vorarlberg, Bavarian settlement in Tyrol, Salzburg, parts of Upper Austria.
In the 9th century Bavarian colonization in Carinthia, Styria, Austria. Following the Hungarian raids, after 955 intensified Bavarian/German settlement in Carinthia, Styria, Austria.
High Middle Ages : The Burgenland, hitherto uninhabited no-mans-land, was settled in the 13th century, mainly by German-speaking settlers.
Peasant rebellions, foreign incursions, wars fought on Austrian soil often have a devastating effect on the rural population; during the Ottoman Siege of Vienna 1683, surrounding Lower Austria was virtually depopulated and had to be resettled. The Burgenland, most exposed to Ottoman raids, in the early 16th century saw the settlement of Croats.

High Middle Ages : in the 12th/13th century establishment of market towns, which, in Carinthia, Styria, Austria, the Burgenland are dominated by the ethnic German population element.
In the 13th to 15th centuries a number of mining towns flourished - in some cases to experience a drastic decline, when the veins were exploited.
In the 16th century, a number of cities, espercially in Styria and Lower Austria, were fortified to withstand Ottoman incursions. Cities attracted immigrants from the surrounding countryside due to the protection their walls offered against incursions, and due to the dreadful conditions the rural population was exposed to (Landflucht).
From the 16th century on, Vienna, as the capital of the Habsburg's complex of territories, gained in political and economic importance.
From the mid 19th century onward growth of cities due to the Industrial Revolution.

Volunteers in foreign Wars
1936-1939 : Austrian volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, on the side of the Republicans

Wartime Destruction : Battlefield Austria
1462 : Salzburg Peasant Revolt
1473- : Ottoman raids into Carinthia, Styria, Burgenland
1478 : Carinthia Peasants Revolt
1479-1491 : Habsburg-Hungarian War
1499 : Swabian War (affected Vorarlberg)
1506 : Habsburg Campaign in Hungary
1508-1516 : Tyrolean-Venetian War
1515 : Slovene Peasants War
1525-1526 : German Peasants' War (Tyrol, Salzburg)
1526-1541 : Habsburg-Ottoman War
1592-1606 : Habsburg-Ottoman War
1601-1602 : Salzburg Peasants Revolt
1606-1612 : Habsburg Brothers' Conflict
1611 : Salt War (Salzburg vs. Bavaria)
1594-1597 : Upper Austrian Peasants Revolt
1618-1648 : Thirty Years War
1625-1626 : Upper Austrian Peasants Revolt
1632 : Upper Austrian Peasants Revolt
1636 : Upper Austrian Peasants Revolt
1683-1699 : Habsburg-Ottoman War
1701-1714 : War of Spanish Succession
1703-1711 : Kuruc Raids
1741-1748 : War of Austrian Succession
1799-1801 : Second War of the Coalition
1805 : Third War of the Coalition
1809 : Fifth War of the Coalition
1809 : Tyrol, Vorarlberg Rebellion
1813 : War of Liberation
1848 : Revolution
1918 : World War I (worst war-inflicted damage Belgium experienced in history)
1944-1945 : World War II : Air Bombardment of Austria
1945 : World War II :

Austria, from Virtual Jewish History Tour
Articles Austria, Carinthia, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, from Jewish Encyclopedia
Before 1939: installation of totalitarian regimes, from History of International Migration Site, at Univ. Leiden
History of International Migration, by Marlou Schrover
Rebecca A. Bishop, History of the Bubonic Plague
Time-Chart of European Economic History 1300-1750, from Economics.UToronto
Ethnische Minderheiten in Österreich (Ethnic Minorities in Austria), from DieGrünen, in German
Archiv Verlag, click Zeittafeln; in German
Article Flüchtlinge, Volkszählungen, from aeiou
Lisa Rettl, 60 Jahre Minderheitenpolitik in Kärnten/Koroska (60 Years of Minority Policy in Carinthia), in German
DOCUMENTS Historical Population Statistics : Austria, from Population Statistics, at Univ. Utrecht
REFERENCE B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics 1750-1988 [G]
Karola Fings, The Killing Fields (Story of Gypsy and Roma in NL, B, Scand., Balkans), to be published by Univ. of Hertfordshire 2002

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted om February 21st 2006, last revised on May 24th 2008

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