Social protection according to EU concept

In 2020, the social expenditure to GDP ratio, expressing the level of social expenditure (calculated according to the definitions of the European System of Integrated Social Protection Statistics - ESSPROS) as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), amounted to 34.1%, because of the COVID-19 pandemic the highest level so far.

In Austria a large proportion of expenditure on social benefits was in respect of the old age function (€53.6 bn or 42%) and about one quarter of expenditure went to benefits in the sickness/health care function (€31.5 bn or 25%). Significantly lower proportions of expenditure were recorded for the following functions: unemployment (11%), family/children (9%), disability (6%), survivors (5%) and housing and social exclusion (2%). The high rise in expenditure in 2020 is mainly due to increasing or implementing of new social benefits to combat the social consequences of COVID-19 pandemic (short-time work grant, benefits for self-employed, lump-sum payments for unemployed and for families etc.).

More than two thirds of social benefits were cash benefits. Social benefits in kind were dominated by in- and out-patient health care benefits. In 2020, €58.5 bn was spent for pension benefits according to EU concept, amounting to 15.4% of the GDP.

After deduction of wage tax and social contributions, partly due from cash benefits, 90.2% of the social benefits (cash benefits and benefits in kind) actually reached the beneficiaries (value for 2019). Therefore, social expenditure to GDP ratio declined by -2.8 percentage points to the net social expenditure to GDP ratio of 26.5%.

With respect to the financing of social benefit systems, more than one third of the total number was financed by employers’ social contributions (2020: 34%), with more than another third being financed by general government revenues (39%) and more than one quarter by social contributions from protected persons (26%).

In 2020 the number of pension beneficiaries according to ESSPROS rose by +1.3% to 2 521 964 compared to the previous year.

All tables compiled on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection concerning social protection expenditure and receipts, net social expenditure and pension beneficiaries are available on the web page ESSPROS tables in all. Information on social statistics in Austria can be found on the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs, too.

Tables and other information on social protection at EU level and its member states are published on the website of Eurostat (statistics explained articles, tables, database, data by social protection scheme and qualitative information). The ESSPROS Manual contains detailed information on the methodology.

Pension entitlements in Austria are calculated and presented based on the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) using actuarial valuation methods.