Vienna – A third of Viennese (34 percent) do not have an Austrian passport, according to the city’s integration monitor presented on Tuesday. Most of the people who have immigrated since 2014 come from EU or EFTA countries and have higher educational qualifications: 25 percent have a school-leaving certificate, and 38 percent have completed higher education. According to the study, young people whose parents came to Vienna from non-EU countries are also increasingly succeeding in advancing their education.
Better school-leaving qualifications than parents
Even particularly disadvantaged groups are increasingly achieving better educational qualifications in the second or third generation, Leila Hadj Abdou, co-author of the sixth Integration and Diversity Monitor, was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the city.
Among children whose parents came to Vienna from non-EU countries, the proportion of people with a low level of education has halved from the parents’ generation to the youth generation: While around 40 percent of the parents’ generation (45- to 59-year-olds) still have at most a compulsory school-leaving certificate, this figure has fallen to just 17 percent among 15- to 29-year-olds who have already acquired their education in Austria.
Integration is often reduced to origin. However, the Integration Monitor shows that socio-economic inequalities such as parents’ low education or low income must also be considered, Abdou emphasized.
Vienna is getting younger
Immigration to Vienna, together with a positive birth rate, has led to a younger population on average (average age: 41 years), and the city is growing. Vienna is the fifth largest city in the EU, with around two million inhabitants. Of these, around 39 percent were born abroad in 2023, 44 percent had a foreign origin (birth abroad or foreign citizenship). The largest immigrant groups in Vienna in terms of numbers are people of Serbian, Turkish or German origin.
Disadvantages of the labor market
Overall, around half of the Viennese population had both parents born abroad. According to the survey, these people perform half of the working hours in Vienna. However, people from non-EU countries, in particular, often have to work below their qualifications or for low wages, according to a comparison of average net wages with equivalent educational qualifications. According to the survey, 45 percent of Viennese who has immigrated from a non-EU country work in professions with socially unfavorable working hours such as late-night, night or shift work.
According to the press release, the “restrictive citizenship law” results in a further disadvantage: as the right to vote is linked to this, 33.4 percent of Viennese are not allowed to vote, and among 25 to 44-year-olds the figure is as high as 45 percent.
Neos: “Integration myths disproved”
The integration report is published every three years, and the data sources are official register data, sample surveys, income tax data and a representative survey. The survey not only disproves integration myths but emphasises integration city councillor Christoph Wiederkehr (Neos) at the presentation, according to the press release. “By breaking away from prejudices and stereotypes and drawing on the Monitor’s data, we can take targeted measures to promote an inclusive and diverse society and effectively tackle the challenges that go hand in hand with this.”
Criticism of the publication came from the Vienna ÖVP.
The integration monitor measures what the city government is comfortable with. Data on German language skills and anti-Semitism, on the other hand, were missing, said integration spokesperson Caroline Hungerländer, who also opposed a “softening” of the criteria for acquiring Austrian citizenship.
Vienna’s FPÖ leader Dominik Nepp repeated his call for social benefits such as the minimum income to be linked to citizenship. Many immigrants would not seek citizenship due to the policies of the SPÖ under Mayor Michael Ludwig, despite having lived in the city for many years, as they would still have access to the social system. “This undermines the importance of citizenship and hinders integration.” The right to vote must also remain a privilege of Austrian citizens.
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