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Demographic Forces Shaping the Religious Landscape of Vienna


Since 1970 the religious homogeneity in terms of the domination in the population of the Roman Catholic Church in Austria has been slowly fading away through two main forces: progressing secularization and immigration of those belonging to other religions. This transformation is unique in the history of religions, but common to most “modern” societies. Migrant women have a higher number of children compared to native women, which is reinforcing the increase in religious pluralism due to migration. These phenomena lead to the diversification of the religious landscape in Austria and is exacerbated in the city of Vienna where both forces of secularization and migration are stronger than in any of the other Austrian federal provinces. If the different censuses in Austria since 1951 allow for the analysis of changes in the religious landscape of the population at detailed spatial levels, the demographic forces responsible or these flows have not yet been explored although most of the data can be reconstructed. The chapter describes the reconstruction exercise of the different forces that have been shaping the religious composition of Vienna: migration (international, national), mortality, fertility, and religious conversion from 1951 to 2011.


  • Religious composition
  • Secularization
  • Migration
  • Fertility
  • Historical analysis
  • Spatial diversity
  • Austria

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9376-6_113
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  1. 1.

    The population of the city of Vienna increased from 1.55 to 1.66 million between 2002 and 2007 according to the Eurostat database (see note 3) – hence a 7.3 % gain which can be fully attributed to international immigration. The whole metropolitan Viennese area including suburbs and exurbs is inhabited by about 3.1 million people.

  2. 2.

    Eurostat database (Metropolitan regions) available at [2/11/2012].

  3. 3.

    Unfortunately, 2001 was the last census by enumeration and Austria moved to new register-based census which does not include religion.

  4. 4.

    The WIREL project on “Past, present and future religious prospects in Vienna, 1950–2050” received a grant from the WWTF (Vienna Science and Technology Fund) in its 2010 Diversity-Identity Call.

  5. 5.

    A map of all religious places collected by the “Kartographie der Religionen in Wien” is available here: [16/11/2012].

  6. 6.

    Other religions present in Austria do not pay taxes, but are encouraged to dedicate gifts to their religious community.


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We are greatly indebted to Daniel Bichl for recovering and computing the data on religion from historical sources. Our sincere appreciation goes to Caroline Berghammer, Katrin Fliegenschnee, Richard Gisser, Regina Polak, Marcin Stonawski, and Krystof Zeman, for their help in solving problems and answering crucial questions along the way.

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Correspondence to Anne Goujon .

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Goujon, A., Bauer, R. (2015). Demographic Forces Shaping the Religious Landscape of Vienna. In: Brunn, S. (eds) The Changing World Religion Map. Springer, Dordrecht.

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