The Austrian Youth Strategy aims to strengthen and develop youth policy across sectors. In September 2020, the federal government renewed its commitment to the strategy in its Government Programme 2020-2024. The youth strategy is described not as a static document, but rather an ever-developing process that involves all federal ministries.

Published on October 4, 2023
Updated on April 3, 2024

Definition of youth

There are differing definitions of "youth" in Austria depending upon the source and context. The main target group of Austria's Youth Strategy are those persons ranging from 14 to 24 years old. According to the Federal Youth Representation Act (2000) and the Federal Youth Promotion Act (2000), all persons up to the age of 30 are considered to be young people.

Definition 1
14 - 24 years
Definition 2
0 - 30 years

Voting Rights

Majority age
18 years
Voting age
16 years
Criminal responsibility
15 years

Candidacy age

Lower House
18 years
Upper House
18 years

Marriage & Gender

Without parental consent
18 years
18 years
With parental consent
16 years
16 years


Is same-sex marriage legalized?


Are other genders recognised?
compulsory medical diagnosis

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?

The Austrian Youth Strategy aims to strengthen and develop youth policy across sectors and to take the realities of young people's lives better into account. In September 2020, the federal government renewed its commitment to the strategy in its Government Programme 2020-2024. The youth strategy is described not as a static document, but rather an ever-developing process that involves all federal ministries. An overview of the ministries' individual implementation measures can be found on the Chancellery's website. The Austrian Youth Strategy identifies 35 youth goals from four main fields of action:

  • Learning and employment;
  • Participation and initiative;
  • Quality of life and a spirit of cooperation; and
  • Media and information.

On a national level, "Reality Checks" strive to ensure that youth participate in the development of objectives and measures relevant to the strategy. In 2021, the Federal Chancellery published a progress report on the Austrian Youth Strategy.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority that is primarily responsible for youth?

Due to the federal structure of the Austrian government, responsibility for youth policy is divided between the central federal government and the federal states. Article 15, the so-called "fallback clause" of the constitution, assigns all those competencies, which haven't been conferred to the federal government, to the federal states. The Federal Chancellery holds the primary authority for youth policy at the federal level. Its Department for Family and Youth leads and coordinates the cross-sectoral youth policy carried out by all ministries. Each federal ministry has a "youth coordinator" who supports the internal processes and serves as a contact partner for the Department for Family and Youth. In December 2021, a State Secretariat for Youth was created within the Federal Chancellery and is responsible for youth policy agendas. The operating unit for the Austrian Youth Strategy is the Youth Competence Centre in the Federal Chancellery. It coordinates the process, offers knowledge and skills, and establishes contact with experts. The goal of the Youth Competence Centre is to develop a stable network between a diverse group of youth policy stakeholders.

Youth & Representation

Does the country have a national youth organization or association?

The Austrian National Youth Council (BJV) is the official and legal representative body of youth in Austria with 59 member organisations. It was established in 2001 through the Federal Youth Representation Act (2000). According to the EU Youth Wiki, as the legal representative of Austrian youth, the Council is "empowered to have a say in all important political decisions" and takes part in policy negotiations. The BJV names the following fields of action:

  • Education and work (education, employment and non-formal education);
  • Youth and politics (participation, international affairs, citizenship education, anti-fascism);
  • Children and youth (child rights, protection of minors, sexual health and reproductive rights, volunteering, housing, sustainability, health, military/civil service);
  • Equality (girls/women, gender mainstreaming, social and distributive justice, diversity/anti-discrimination, inter-generational justice).

There are also some youth councils at the federal state level that consult and advise the regional governments and youth departments. As stated in the EU Youth Wiki, the states decide whether the consultation is compulsory.

Youth work

Is youth work a formally recognised profession?

According to the "Youth Work in Austria" website, a youth worker is a professionally qualified person who works full-time or as a volunteer in extracurricular child and youth work. Different terms are used to describe persons working in this field, including "specialist for open child and youth work", "youth information worker", and "youth/youth group leader". 

Within the federalist structure, responsibilities for extracurricular child and youth work are divided between the nine federal states and the federal government. However, as stated on the Federal Chancellery website, according to the federal constitution, the federal states hold the primary responsibility in this area. The main tasks of the federal states include:

  • Lobbying measures in the children's and youth sectors;
  • Youth protection;
  • Public relations work;
  • Youth welfare;
  • Basic training.

The competences required for youth work are covered in the National Qualification Framework (NQF) as well as the Competence Framework for Child- and Youthwork. According to the EU Youth Wiki, there is no statutory training in order to become a youth worker; however, all federal states have universities offering social work degrees, some offering special training courses in youth social work.

Budget & Spending

Does the national youth policy have a dedicated budget?

According to the Budget Overview of Austria for 2022, EUR 7.7 billion (USD 7.9 billion) were allocated to "Family and Youth" in the country's 2022 budget. As stated in the EU Youth Wiki, this is an increase of EUR 52 million (or 0.7%) as compared to the 2021 expenditures. Up until recently, this budget was under the realm of the former Ministry of Labour, Family and Youth. For education, EUR 10.2 billion (USD 11.1 billion) was allocated for 2022. It is not possible to determine an amount specifically dedicated to the implementation of the Austrian Youth Strategy. The determination is complicated by the fact that each federal ministry has its own youth agenda and goals.

Contextual Figures

Liberal Democracy Index
Youth Progress Index

Economic Indicators

GDP per capita
Human Development Index
Gini coefficient

Youth unemployment

Youth unemployment rate by sex (in percent), compared to total population

Additional background

According to the Austrian National Youth Council (BJV), it is time for "less announcements and more actions" from the federal government. As reported by APA-OTS in July 2022, more speed is needed in the implementation of specific projects, particularly in light of the numerous crises currently characterising the lives of young people. Fiona Herzog, BJV Chairwoman stated: "So far, only a fifth of the measures relevant to children and young people have been implemented in the government program." She stressed the need to play catch-up, especially in the area of mental health of children and young people. Although the government's "Healthy Out of the Crisis" project is an important investment, it needs to go further. She noted that the program covers only a tenth of the need for therapy places, and even more concerning is the fact that some federal states have no panel doctors for child and adolescent psychiatry. In particular in light of the increasing importance of mental and physical health for young Austrians, as shown by the 8th report on the situation of Austrian youth, this remains a significant challenge. Other issues needing swift attention are educational reforms, the massive burden of inflation, child welfare and action on climate change. Herzog warned that young people have lost significant confidence in policymakers and that key projects must be pushed into the forefront to regain their trust.


See all sources (28)


  • Update 03.04.2024: Added 8th report on youth in Austria to background text and references
  • Update 03.04.2024: Updated number of goals in youth strategy to 35
  • Update 03.04.2024: Added youth unemployment figures
  • Update 22.02.2024: Added minimum candidacy age for president and source
  • Update 20.02.2024: Corrected small formatting errors
See all updates (2)