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IMMIGRATION

REVEALED: What do Austrians think about foreigners?

A new report about migration and integration in Austria shows there are big differences in how Austrians view foreigners - depending on age, location, education and how much money they have.

REVEALED: What do Austrians think about foreigners?
How do Austrians feel about foreigners? Photo: EXPA / AFP

The latest Statistical Yearbook for Migration and Integration from Statistik Austria reveals a clear socio-demographic divide in attitudes towards foreigners in Austria.

The 2021 report shows that in larger towns and cities, and within younger, well-educated people, attitudes towards foreigners are more positive.

Whereas in smaller communities (less than 5,000 residents) and among people aged 60 and over, attitudes towards foreigners are less positive.

The annual report has been published for more than ten years and the 2021 edition includes results from three groups: people born in Austria, people from the most common countries of migration (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey), and refugees in Austria (from Afghanistan, Syria and Chechnya).

Here is a breakdown of the results.

The generational divide

Overall, the opinion towards foreigners in Austria is divided, with 45 per cent saying living with migrants was “rather bad”. However, 47 per cent said living with migrants was “rather good”.

Then there are differences in age and education with 63 per cent of Austrians aged 16 to 29 considering coexistence to be “rather good”, compared to 57 per cent of people aged 60-plus viewing coexistence with foreigners as functioning poorly.

For Austrians with a university education, the rate of a positive attitude towards living with foreigners rose to 61 per cent.

FOR MEMBERS: Where in Austria do all the British residents live?

The report also shows that more than half of all Austrians (62 per cent) surveyed said they have regular contact with immigrants.

Younger people with a high level of education were more likely to have regular contact with non-Austrians, but 47 per cent of Austrian people aged 60-plus have almost no contact with immigrants.

Additionally, 46 per cent of Austrians think living with foreigners has worsened, compared with 22 per cent who saw an improvement.

Again, this can be broken by demographics with 39 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds seeing an improvement, but only 16 per cent of people aged 60-plus saying the same.

The geographical and financial divide

The results show that in smaller communities, 42 per cent said they have no contact with the immigrant population. 

This is not surprising as the majority of Austria’s international residents live in larger towns and cities.

For example, only 29 per cent of people living in Vienna and born in Austria said they have no contact with foreigners.

Likewise, Austrian people that identified with struggling financially were less likely to have positive attitudes or even regular contact with immigrants.

The report reveals that people that are comfortable financially are more than twice as likely to have contact with immigrants when compared with those with less money.

What do international residents say?

According to the report, nine out of ten migrants said they feel at home in Austria, with those that have lived in Austria for longer expressing strong feelings of being at home.

When immigrants were asked about their living situation, 60 per cent of people born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia or Turkey said their personal life situation in Austria had improved in recent years.

For people from Afghanistan, Syria or Chechnya, 86 per cent reported a positive improvement.

READ MORE: How do foreigners feel about living in Austria?

However, these responses are also divided by age with more younger people reporting a positive improvement than the older generation.

But the report states that much of the older generation of international residents in Austria have lived in the country for longer and are already integrated, which means they will have seen less change in their situation.

People from Turkey feel most frequently discriminated against in Austria with 29 per cent saying they feel disadvantaged because of their migrant background.

For people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia or Turkey, 49 per cent reported being discriminated against occasionally because of where they are from.

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VIENNA

What makes Vienna the ‘most liveable city’ and where can it improve?

Vienna is once again at the top of the global liveability index, but what does it mean and where can Austria's capital still improve?

What makes Vienna the 'most liveable city' and where can it improve?

The Austrian capital city of Vienna made a comeback as the world’s most liveable city after it tumbled down to 34th place due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Now, Vienna tops a ranking dominated by Western European cities, and it scores highly in nearly all criteria, including stability, healthcare, education, and infrastructure, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

READ ALSO: Vienna returns to top ranking as world’s ‘most liveable city

What does each of these points mean and in which areas is the city still not the best?

The liveability score is reached through category weights, each divided into subcategories. The indicators are then scored based on either judgement of “in-house expert geography analysts and a field correspondent based in each city” for qualitative variables.

In the case of quantitative variables, the rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a location using external data, such as information from the World Bank or Transparency International, for example.

Karlskirche, or St. Charles Church, in Vienna (Copyright: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Stability

Vienna got a 100 percent score in this category, which is measured based on several indicators. The EIU rating evaluated the prevalence of petty crime and of violent crime. It also looked into the threat of terrorism, military conflict, and civil unrest threats.

Healthcare

This was another category Austria’s capital aced – and an improvement from the pandemic years, when it lost points on healthcare.

READ ALSO: Ten essential apps to download for living in Vienna

The rating considers the availability and quality of both private and public healthcare. It also looks into the availability of over-the-counter drugs and general healthcare indicators provided by the World Bank.

Education

Vienna got a total of 100 points for this category, which considered the availability and quality of private education and looked into World Bank data on public education indicators.

Infrastructure

Another 100 percent for Austria’s capital which was found to have a good quality of road network, public transport, international links, energy provision, water provision and telecommunications. The ranking also considered the availability of good-quality housing.

Theater in Vienna (© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer)

Culture & Environment

This was the only category where Vienna did not get 100 points. Instead, it scored 96.3, which was still higher than many of the top ten cities. Vancouver, Canada, was the only city at the top of the ranking that got a 100. Melbourne and Amsterdam also fared slightly better than Vienna.

READ ALSO: ​​The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

The category looks into humidity and temperature rating, the discomfort of climate for travellers, level of corruption, social or religious restrictions, level of censorship, sporting availability, cultural availability, food and drink, and consumer goods and services.

Among all of these indicators, only the humidity/temperature rating, which is adapted from average weather conditions, didn’t receive the highest grade.

What can Vienna do to get better?

Even in the indicators where the Austrian capital did well, there are always things to improve, especially concerning the risks to the quality of living that rising inflation and the Ukrainian war bring.

When it comes to weather, though the city cannot control when it rains or shines, there are many things it can do to improve living conditions on those scorching summer days or freezing winter evenings.

READ ALSO: ‘Cool streets’: How Vienna is preparing for climate change and heatwaves

As summer and heatwaves arrive, it is already looking to bring more green areas and avoid “heat islands” building up in the city centre. It also has built fog showers, drinking fountains and increased offers of “cool” areas where people can escape the extreme heat.

Also, looking to reduce the use of cars and make life better for residents, Vienna is betting on the “15-minute city” concept. This means that Austria’s capital is trying to make the essential everyday routes and destinations, including metro stations, reachable by a 15-minute walk.

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