The Republic of Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is surrounded by Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. More than 8 million people live in Austria with the capital city of Vienna being home to almost 2 million.
SOS Children's Villages was founded in 1949 as a response to the misery of children growing up without parental care in post-war Austria. In the following decades, the organization grew both within Austria and abroad.
Disadvantages that parents experience due to material poverty are likely to be passed on to children. Poverty in Austria especially affects families with migrant or refugee background, children whose parents are unemployed or unable to work, or children with chronically ill parents. Children who grow up in poverty are more vulnerable to the effects of deprivation, facing long-term consequences to their development, educational outcomes, as well as their physical and mental health.
Unemployment affects more than 6% of the working force in Austria. However, around 8% of young people (aged 15-24) are unemployed, due to skills gaps, a lack of job-specific experience, and temporary work contracts. Young people who experience unemployment at an earlier age are more likely to face fewer development opportunities, lower wage levels as well as poorer prospects for better jobs in the long-term.
In Austria, around 41% of 18 to 24-year-olds experience symptoms of depression. Young people from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, in precarious financial situations or facing unemployment are more likely to suffer from depression. While the Austrian healthcare system is known for nearly universal coverage and accessibility of services, mental healthcare services are often difficult and costly to access.