Summary: Small-Scale Population Projection for Vienna 2023–2053

The aim of the small-scale population projection for Vienna 2023 is to provide a sound basis for planning policies that meet the demands of the city’s future population. Anticipatory policies require evidence of the current situation and knowledge of how key parameters could change in the future. Therefore, Statistics Vienna (MA 23) regularly develops small-scale population projections, most recently in 2018.

The underlying assumptions about the future development of demographic processes and housing potential in Vienna are based on a series of demographic and spatial analyses. Subsequently, the population development by age, sex, and country of birth has been projected for the entire city (until 2053), for the 23 districts (until 2043), and for 94 forecast areas (until 2033).

Population development in Vienna until 2053

According to the projection, Vienna will grow by 310,000 people (+15.6%) over the next three decades, which means that the city's population will reach 2,292,000 residents at the beginning of 2053. The projected change in the population size over the coming 30 years is roughly equivalent to what Vienna experienced in the past 15 years. Consequently, we anticipate moderate future population growth. Nevertheless, Vienna could surpass the historical population peak of 2,083,630 inhabitants (set in 1910) by the end of this decade.

The projection assumes that immigration from abroad will decrease in the coming years in comparison to the period before 2023. However, Vienna is still expected to gain a migration surplus from foreign-born individuals, offsetting the ongoing negative net migration of the Austrian-born population. As a result, the proportion of Vienna's foreign-born residents will further increase from 39.3% in 2023 to 44.2% by 2053.

Population increases in the recent past were mainly the result of migration gains, while the positive natural population change is also contributing to the overall growth since 2004. This trend is expected to continue until 2053. Despite the slight decline between 2020 and 2022, we assume that the positive development of life expectancy gains during the last decades will continue over the next 30 years – to 85.2 years for women and 81.7 years for men until 2053. This corresponds to an increase of 3 or 4 years compared to 2022. Due to the continued increase in life expectancy in older age groups, the number of deaths will rise as populous birthcohorts (the baby-boomer generation) enter the age groups with the highest mortality rates.

The average number of children for both Austrian-born and foreign-born women in Vienna is anticipated to converge in the future. However, Vienna's total fertility rate is expected to remain at 1.3 children per woman, well below the demographic replacement level. Due to Vienna’s young population structure, with a high share of young adults in the reproductive age, the record number of 20,804 births from 2016 could be surpassed over the course until 2053.

In recent decades, Vienna has evolved from a demographically aging and shrinking city to a young and growing metropolis. Despite the expectation of lower migration gains in the years to come, it must be assumed that demographic aging will gather some pace in the coming years and decades. The proportion of children under 15 years of age will hardly change between 2023 and 2053, the proportion of working age population between 15 and 64 years will decline slightly and the share of persons 65 years and older, which was just 16.4 % in 2023, will rise to over 20% in the next 30 years. More than half of the projected increase in the city’s elderly population will be attributed to a strong growth in the number of those aged 80 and older.

The demographic structure of Vienna's population aged 65 years and older will also change in the future. Due to improvements in life expectancy among older men, the share of men in the highest age groups will increase. With respect to the country of birth, the number of seniors born abroad will increase sharply. In 2053, almost half of the city's population aged 65 years and older and around 40% in the age group 80 years and older will be foreign-born.

Population development in the municipal districts until 2043

The results of this small-scale population projection suggest a further increase in the city’s number of inhabitants. However, the 23 municipal districts of Vienna will not be affected equally.

The inner-city districts will experience only small changes in population size during the coming 20 years. Only small population increases can be expected in the 4th and 9th districts (Wieden and Alsergrund), while in the 5th, 6th and 7th districts we anticipate stagnation or a slight decline in population numbers. In the two districts with the currently smallest population number (1st, Innere Stadt and 8th, Josefstadt), the projected population declines will be more significant with -17.2% and -7.0%, respectively. Until 2043 population numbers will increase moderately in the western districts (13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th) and in Landstraße (3rd district).

The population is expected to grow more rapidly in the two districts between the Danube and the Danube Canal over the course of the next two decades - in Leopoldstadt (2nd district) by +10.0% and in Brigittenau (20th district) by +8.8%. Population growth in Meidling (12th district) is expected to be similarly strong. In Liesing (23rd district), the projected relative growth until 2043 corresponds to that of the development in the city, for which the projection assumes a population increase of +12.5%.

Above-average growth over the course of the next 20 years is expected in the outer districts in southern Vienna - in Favoriten (10th district) by 20.5 % and in Simmering (11th district) by 18.6 % - and in the northeast of the city - in Floridsdorf (21st district) by 16.9 percent and in Donaustadt (22nd district) by as much as 46.4 %. At this rate of growth, Donaustadt (22nd district) could overtake Favoriten (10th district) as the most populous district in Vienna in the coming years.

Small-scale population development in forecast areas 2023-2033

The projected population growth for Vienna will result in above-average growth rates in many areas of the outer districts over the next ten years. In contrast, population change in densely populated inner-city neighbourhoods will be only slightly positive or even negative during the period 2023 to 2033.

The number of Vienna's Austrian-born population is expected to increase in areas with residential housing developments and in inner-city neighbourhoods outside of Vienna's Gürtel ring road, the 13-kilometre-long city road that borders the inner districts. Because of the assumption that Vienna’s future population growth will mainly rely on international immigration, the foreign-born population will increase in almost all residential areas (except for the 1st district).

Additionally, the share of foreign-born population will rise in some inner-city forecast areas within Vienna's Gürtel that are expected to experience negative population developments until 2033 (due to negative net migration of Austrian-born population).

Since newly built flats are triggering the influx of families and young adults, the number of children younger than 15 years will increase in the coming ten years, especially in neighbourhoods with new housing developments that have been completed in the recent past or will be completed in the near future.

Over the next ten years, a sharp increase in the number of elderly population aged 65 to 79 is expected especially in residential areas where there has been a low proportion of senior population so far. This includes newly developed residential areas (e.g., Seestadt Aspern, Sonnwendviertel, or Nordbahnhof area) and residential quarters that experienced considerable immigration from abroad in the past decades. The proportion of people aged 80 years and older will rise by 2033, particularly in areas where the percentage of this age group has been relatively low until now; e.g. in the districts north of the Danube (21st and 22nd districts) that have been growing rapidly in recent years, and in densely populated residential areas along the Gürtel that are characterised by a high share of international immigrants.

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