Country profile

Austria is a country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,723 (2010 est.). The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2010 was ranked 25th in the world for its Human Development Index.

The nation of Austria has a two-tier health care system in which many individuals receive publicly-funded care, but they also have the option to purchase supplementary private health insurance. Some individuals choose to completely pay for their care privately. Austria’s health care system was given 9th place by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their mid-00s international ranking.


Policy responses

Health inequalities are implicitly addressed by the Austrian Government as there is no national integrated plan directly addressing the issue. Policies that impact on health inequalities are partially developed by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Landers (regions).

An overview of policy responses addressing health inequalities in Austria can be found in our Policy Database.


Good practices

An overview of projects and initiatives that are currently taking place in Austria or that have successfully been finalized, and that are addressing health inequality issues, can be found in our Project Database.

Key actors

Please find below an overview of key actors in Austria working on health inequality issues:

  • Bundesministerium für Gesundheit – Federal Ministry of Health
  • Fonds Gesundes Österreich – Austrian Health Promotion Foundation. FGÖ promotes projects, develop activities and campaigns and act as a catalyst to set up collaborations. The purpose of all these efforts is to make healthy life styles and healthy life settings available to as many people in Austria as possible. It is a business unit of Gesundheit Österreich GmbH. Their website also provides extensive information on health promotion, prevention, and self-help initiatives.


Are you aware of any other key actors that should be added to this list?
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Key resources

Please find below an overview of relevant documents addressing health inequality issues in Austria. Further publications can be found in our Publications Database.

  • The Austrian Health Care System – Key Facts (2010) The publication describes the health care system in Austria. A chapter is dedicated to health promotion and lifestyle choices (p. 24). It does not explicitly mention health inequalities or social determinants of health, but it mentions the Austrian responsibility to provide “the best possible health care services to all citizens, irrespective of their income or social status”. It lists also a series of preventive actions taken for specific groups (women and children, immigrants, etc) and on specific themes (diet, physical exercise…). It also states that “the health policy is a cross-cutting issue. Planning and implementation processes need to involve all disciplines and sectors”, which refers to HiAP approach.
  • Österreichischer bericht über strategien für sozialschutz und soziale eingliederung 2008-2010 – National Report on strategies for social protection and social inclusion
  • Rahmen-Gesundheitsziele – Health goals framework. The Austrian Ministry of Health conducted a consultation among stakeholders from all policy sectors (including health) to develop Public Health Targets for Austria. The process started in May 2011 and the focus is on the determinants of health. Health equity is a specific issue that is being addressed.


Are you aware of any other key resources that should be added to this list?
Please let us know!

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