Definition of Youth

According to the Ministry for Economy, Family and Youth, there are various definitions of youth in use: Austria’s youth strategy targets 14-24 year olds, while the youth promotion act defines youth as those under 30 years old.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • ++
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • ++

  • Persons under 18 years need court approval before they may marry. Civil unions/partnerships legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Civil Code of Austria

Majority Age


Source: Austrian Civil Code (2001)

Voting Age


Compulsory voting.
Source:  Inter-Parliamentary Union

Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Austria launched a youth strategy in 2013. A youth policy summary and two briefings (2011, 2012) add detail and context.

Austria’s Youth Strategy (2013) aims to ‘strengthen and develop youth policy’ throughout the country:

The goal of this strategy is to bring together policies and measures for young people, to make them systematic and to optimise their effectiveness. It also aims to discover new fields of action and cooperation, to make new calls for action and to support these with concrete measures that can be readily implemented.
The Strategy defines eight fields of action, namely education and training, employment and entrepreneurship, voluntary work, health and well-being, youth in the world, creativity and culture, social inclusion, and participation. These eight fields of action are complemented by strategic framework objectives.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Owing to Austria’s federal structure, the Austrian federal government shares the responsibility for youth policy with the nine provinces. At provincial level, the states maintain youth departments (Landesjugendreferate) in their respective governments. At federal level, the Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth is currently responsible for youth policy. Within the Ministry, a unit exists for youth policy, and a new Youth Competence Centre was established in 2013 to coordinate the development and implementation of the new Youth Strategy.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Austrian National Youth Council (BJV) is the federal umbrella association of youth organisation in Austria. Its aim is to
represent the political, social, economic and cultural interests of young people and voice their concerns and demands towards policy and decision-makers at all levels, the media and the public.
Originally established in 1953, it underwent a major reform in 2001 through the Federal Youth Representation Act (2001), making it the legal representative of young people in Austria with rights similar to trade unions. It is a full member of the European Youth Forum.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
EUR 9.2 million
USD 12.6 million
According to the federal budget of Austria, in 2013 the government spent EUR 9.2 million specifically on youth policy measures. Comparisons to previous years are impossible due to a fundamental change in how the federal budget is designed. Moreover, it is unknown how much the nine provinces spent on youth policy through their provincial governments. According to the World Bank, Austria spent 11.22% of its government expenditure and 5.89% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From the National EU Youth Strategy Report (2012):
The 6th Austrian Youth Report (2011) presents a comprehensive perspective of the processes and demands of growing up in Austrian society. Section A of the Sixth Report on the Situation of Youth includes scientific expertises that analyse the living conditions of young people and draw conclusions for responsible youth policy. Based on their experience and their knowhow in the specific areas, practitioners describe the situation of youth work in Austria and evaluate the chances and perspectives for development for young people in Section B. This section clarifies what is already effective for – and with – today’s youth, how this has been achieved, what has become political reality for young people and where there is still a need for action in order to maximise the potential for development for the benefit of Austria and the young people themselves.
From Country Sheet on Youth Policy in Austria (2011):
Due to the federal structure of the state and the historical development the competencies in youth policy are divided up between the federal government and the provinces. Youth policy is to a large extent the task of the nine provincial states. But on the federal level, many laws and actions have a big impact on young people. [...]A recent study proved that only three federal laws are officially “youth laws” but more than 60 laws on the federal level target young people directly and a lot more have direct impact on young people.
From Youth Policy in Austria – A short outline (2009):
The objectives of the Austrian youth policy lie primarily in providing knowledge and tools for an independent and self dependent life to youth without patronizing them. Youth policy has to be versatile and open, it should not regulate, but it should set goals, moderate and back up. [...] Youth policy has to be pinned as a cross sectional matter [...] Young persons are not only an aim for concrete measures of youth policy, they are citizens concerned by social, political and economical questions.