Austria is a German-speaking country with many interesting facts, achievements, and milestones. After its defeat in World War I Austria lost its earlier powers over the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It then became just a small republic. It was annexed by Nazi Germany and occupied by the Allies that had defeated it in 1945. The occupation of Austria by the victorious Allies ended in 1955 after a treaty was signed to make Austria independent. Austria became a member of the European Economic and Monitory Union in 1999.
Austria, officially known as the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a parliamentary democracy with two legislative bodies: the National Council and the Federal Council. Austrian has nine federal provinces. Its top leaders are the president and the chancellor. Austria’s size is 32,382 square miles, almost the size of South Carolina. As at 2008, Austria’s population was 8.4 million. Besides Vienna, the other big cities are Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. Its population is 91% Austrian, 4% former Yugoslavs, and 1.6% Turks. Other smaller ethnics account for the remaining 3%. The main religion in Austria is Roman Catholic, to which 74% of the population professes. Protestants and Muslims account for 5% and 4% of the population respectively. The remaining 12% are not affiliated to any religious group.
Despite Austria being a landlocked country, it is still a strategic location for central European people, especially for purposes of trade and other forms of human interactions. The country is characterized by easily negotiable Alpine passes and valleys, which make its role as a strategic location for central Europe more pronounced. About 62% of Austria’s land is covered by the Austrian Alps. Its main river is the Danube. Austria’s population is more concentrated on lowlands towards its eastern borders compared to its other regions. The low-populated regions have many steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures, which do not support human settlement. 50% of Austria’s population lives in the Vienna, the capital city.
Statistics indicate that quite many people in Austria are obese. Most affected by obesity are men of whom 50.8% are overweight. On the other hand, only 20.3% of Austrian women are overweight. In fact, this is the lowest rate for obesity among European Union members.
Austria has several 21st century environmental issues to address. First, Austrian forests have been extensively degraded by air and soil pollution in recent times. The main causes of soil pollution in Austrian forests are agricultural chemicals. The main causes of air pollution in Austrian forest cover are emissions from coal, oil-powered stations, and industries. Being a transit point for southern and northern Europe, Austria has numerous trucks travelling through it, contributing to air pollution. As a result of this pollution, Austria has joined the international community to help reduce or eliminate pollution by Nitrogen Oxides, organic compounds, and Sulfur among other pollutants. Among the treaties Austria has joined are the Antarctic Treaty and the Change-Kyoto Protocols.
Austria has a rather well-developed market economy with skilled and unskilled workforce. Compared to other countries in the region, Austria’s living standards are considerably high mainly because of its interactions with European powers such as Germany. The key features of Austria’s economy are buoyant service sector, stable industrial sector, and vibrant agricultural sector. Russia’s economy has recorded lackluster performance since 2013 during which it recorded a growth of 0.5%. It is expected that the economic growth will not exceed 0.5% in 2015.