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IN NUMBERS: The Vienna districts where most foreigners live

In three Vienna districts, Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, Brigittenau and Favoriten, more than 50 percent of residents have a foreign background. Here's what you need to know about these areas.

IN NUMBERS: The Vienna districts where most foreigners live
(Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash)

Austria’s capital Vienna is home to the majority of foreigners in the country. Around 41.9 percent of the population are of foreign origin, according to Stadt Wien information from early 2021.

Most of the foreign population comes from Serbia (101,597), Turkey (76,025), Germany (64,182), and Poland (55,267). Of all the 23 Viennese districts, three are significant because more than half of their residents were born outside of Austria. These are Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus (since 2015), Brigittenau (since 2018) and Favoriten (since 2021). 

READ ALSO: ‘Bring everything you have’: Key tips for dealing with Vienna’s immigration office MA 35

In the district of Margareten the share of people of foreign origin is slightly below 50 percent. The districts of Liesing and Hietzing are farthest below the Viennese average in foreign-born residents, with a share of 30 percent each.

What are the ‘districts of foreigners’ like?

The 15th district, or Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, is the smallest and most densely populated district of Vienna outside of the so-called “belt” (meaning it’s surrounding the city centre). The neighbourhood is home to several important Vienna spots, including parts of the famous Mariahilfer Strasse, the Westbahnhoff train station and the Stadthalle. 

The 15th is home to a population with a younger-than-average age, at 39.6 years, while the average age in Vienna is 41. Additionally, according to city data, the proportion of people registered as unemployed in the district is one of the highest in Vienna, with 131.3 per 1,000 inhabitants aged 15 to 64 years. Furthermore, although the average net income has been increasing over the last few years, the 15th district is the one with the lowest average income: €18,528. 

Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus is also the district with the lowest “density of dogs” with only 17.2 dogs per 1,000 residents, while the average in the city is 29,1 dogs per 1,000 people. It might seem like a curious aspect to measure, but it’s worth nothing that Vienna is a highly dog-friendly city, with many parks and specific areas for the animals.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about owning a pet in Austria

Brigittenau, also known as the 20th district, is one of the most ethnically diverse municipal districts next to the Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, according to the City of Vienna. The area is located between the Donaukanal and the Danube and because of that, its territory consists of more than one-fifth of water. 

In terms of age, the district is slightly below the average for the city of Vienna, at 40.1 years. However, Brigittenau is one of the districts with a high proportion of unemployed people compared to the Vienna average, reaching 143.9 people per 1,000 residents aged 15 to 65 years. Similarly to the 15th district, the average net income has also steadily increased over the years, but the district also has a low average income, at €18,674. 

When it comes to dog ownership, there are just about 20.6 registered dogs per 1,000 residents – also below the Viennese average.

Favoriten, also known as the 10th district, is the most populous in Vienna, according to the Stadt Wien. Almost as many people live in the district as in Linz, the third-largest city in Austria. The 10th is also home to many immigrants and is densely populated in the north but has numerous green areas in the south.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Could Austria ever change the rules to allow dual citizenship?

The 10th District has one of the districts with a young population, according to city data. The average age is 39.9, compared to 41 in Vienna. Favoriten also has a high proportion of unemployed people, at 139,7 per 1,000 residents between 15 and 64 years. The average net income is also below the city average, totalling €19,478. 

There are 24.7 registered dogs per 1,000 residents of Favoriten, which is below the Vienna rate of 29.1. 

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Migration Economy: Who are the migrants starting businesses in Austria?

Self-employed migrants - or those building businesses in Austria - contribute hugely to the local economy, a new study has found.

Migration Economy: Who are the migrants starting businesses in Austria?

People born outside of Austria rely, in large part, on self-employment or opening up businesses (and then employing other migrants) as a path to working in the country, a study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IHS) on behalf of the Integration Fund (OeIF) found.

The study, Migration Economy in Vienna (Migrantische Ökonomien in Wien), also found that some nationalities tend to stick to specific industries – which could be partially explained by how migrants rely on informal networks of people of the same origin to start a business.

READ ALSO: Being self-employed in Austria: What you need to know

For example, people from the former Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey often work independently in the construction sector. People from China are strongly concentrated in gastronomy, along with people of Turkish, Syrian, Thai and Maghreb origin.

Migrants originally from Asia and Africa, and especially India, Egypt and Afghanistan, are concentrated mainly in postal and courier services, including bicycle messenger services. Finally, the study found that people from Turkey and former Yugoslavia also appear more often than average registered as taxi drivers.

How much money do they bring in?

Figures from Austria’s Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer) showed that business owners in Vienna with a migration background generate € 8.3 billion in revenue and create around 45,500 jobs. 

Plus, these companies pay around € 3.7 billion every year in taxes and duties.

Walter Ruck, President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies with a migrant background not only enrich the diversity of the corporate landscape in Vienna, but they are also an economic factor.”

READ MORE: Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

Who are these migrants?

Part of the survey involved a qualitative research with migrant entrepreneurs in Vienna, but also a comprehensive quantitative data analysis of registered businesses.

Many of the entrepreneurs interviewed were first generation (meaning they were not born in Austria), and most were between 26 and 35 years old and male. In total, the small businesses surveyed employed two to a maximum of four employees, most of whom were related to the owner.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The main Austrian ‘tax traps’ foreigners should be aware of

The entrepreneurs with a migrant background who were interviewed generally either did not have higher school-leaving qualifications (known in Austria as the Matura) or have not yet had their foreign certificates recognised in Austria and therefore do not work in their sector of study. 

First-generation migrants, in particular, tend to have lower educational qualifications, which has a negative impact on their chances in the labour market, the study said. Because of that, the respondents named a lack of occupational alternatives as one of the decisive factors for starting a business.

Additionally, many of the respondents said they relied on a network of people from their own nationality for help setting up a business. Many of them weren’t aware of the support offered by official bodies, including the Chamber of Commerce. 

READ ALSO: What is the new cost of living ‘credit’ for self-employed people in Austria?

The study concluded that language barriers and some cultural aspects played a role, but since most entrepreneurs were interested in getting more detailed information on starting and running businesses, there was potential for better communication and targeting by the public offices.

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