Vienna is the capital city of Austria, and also one of its nine provinces. It is Austria´s primary city and the only city with a population above 1 million. It is the seat of the Austrian parliament, the Office of the Chancellery and all ministries, and the Office of the President of the Austrian Federal Republic.(Population – 1,84 million (as of Jan. 1, 2016), City area (km2) - 414,65.Language(s) - Official language: German; approx. 180 languages spoken in the city)
In 2015, Vienna’s population grew by almost 43,000 inhabitants – a new record since the end of World War II. Population growth goes hand in hand with dynamic progress in society and with business development. Investing in infrastructure, education, housing and healthcare is a top priority for policymakers in order to maintain the excellent quality of public services in Vienna for the future.
Vienna is an open city, a city of immigration and a city of diversity.The past two decades have not only changed the city but also urban policies with regard to migration and integration. Today, Vienna is a city where 35% of the residents were born abroad and some 50% of the population have a migration background, which means that they or at least one of their parents were born abroad or that they are foreign nationals. In 2016, 38% of Viennese, i.e. 704,902 persons, had a foreign background. 504,197 persons or 27% of Viennese held a foreign nationality. 217,903 held the nationality of an EU or EFTA member state, and 286,294 held a Third Country passport. The majority of Viennese with a foreign background come from Serbia (99,082), followed by Turkey (76,363), and Germany (55,361).
This continuous increase of Viennese with a migration background and the diversification by country of origin, qualifications and education as well as the increasing importance of the second generations of the largest ethnic groups have called for differentiated and enhanced policy instruments and measures. In 2004, a change of paradigm took place against this backdrop, which led to the further development of integration policies towards diversity policies and diversity management for a modern public administration. Integration is not just regarded as a process that concerns migrants and people with a migration background but also the host society and its institutions. The term “diversity” refers to a more comprehensive approach as it also includes the chances and opportunities that come with a more diverse society. Creating equal rights and opportunities in all areas of life is essential and forms the basis of social cohesion.
In 2004, the City of Vienna established Municipal Department 17 - Integration and Diversity (MA 17) and created the organisational framework for the implementation of diversity policies. MA 17 forms part of the Vienna City Administration and initiates measures and projects to promote equal opportunities. MA 17 helps all the people who live in Vienna to get along well with each other in everyday life.
Vienna is committed to human rights and upholds a high standard of rights in the city. The city seeks to maintain a high level of respect for fundamental rights and make Vienna an international example in human rights matters. In December 2014, the Vienna City Council passed the Human Rights City Vienna declaration, making human rights the guiding principle of all decisions and actions in all areas of Vienna’s politics and administration. Another objective is to increase awareness of the issue.
With a campaign titled Human rights concern us all, the City of Vienna seeks to encourage both city employees and the Viennese population to respect and stand up for human rights in their everyday life. In addition to expanding already existing forms of civic participation in planning, decision making and implementation processes, the City of Vienna is open to newly emerging forms of participation that can promote human rights in the context of the city. Cooperation with national bodies as well as international networks and solidarity also play an important part in the city’s policies.
In 2015, a human rights office was established to coordinate and follow-up on the activities and commitments under the human rights city declaration. It also has the task to develop a catalogue of measures for the coming years, enshrine human rights at the institutional level in administration and policy, and establish internal and external monitoring and reporting mechanisms.
In 2016, as in the past years, Vienna ranks at the top of a leading international comparative study on the quality of living in different cities worldwide, and scores highly in many other rankings. According to the UN HABITAT report, Vienna is the world’s most prosperous city, while the Innovation Cities Global Index counts the Austrian capital among the most innovative cities worldwide.