Styria, with 16 401 km 2 the second largest federal state in Austria, (2018) 1.24 million residents; The capital is Graz.
Styria is located in the southeast of the country and borders Upper Austria and Lower Austria in the north, Burgenland in the east, Slovenia in the south, Carinthia in the southwest and Salzburg in the west. After the municipal structural reform that came into force on January 1, 2015, Styria comprises 12 political districts, which are divided into 287 municipalities (including 35 municipalities and 122 market municipalities) and one city with its own statute (Graz).
Styria stretches from the Northern Limestone Alps in the northwest to the Eastern Styrian hill country and to the edge of the Pannonian lowlands in the southeast. Most of the state is in the Eastern Alps. The mountainous Upper Styria in the north-west includes the source area of the Traun (Styrian Salzkammergut or Ausseer Land) and the two longitudinal valley furrows, the Ennstal and Mur-Mürz furrows, which are connected by the Schoberpass valley watershed.
In the Styrian part of the Salzkammergut, heavily karstified, high-alpine limestones rise up: the Dachstein group (located in the triangle of Styria, Salzburg and Upper Austria) with the highest mountain in the state (2,995 m above sea level), northeast of which is the Dead Mountains. To the east, the Ennstal Alps connect with the Gesäuse and the Styrian-Lower Austrian Limestone Alps, in the south accompanied by the ore- rich Grauwackenzone of the Eisenerzer Alps. Between Ennsand Mur the extend to the central Alps counting Lower Tauern, south of the Mur-Mürz-Furche the Gurktaler and the Seetal Alps as well as the sickle-shaped arch of the Styrian Randgebirge (encloses the southeastern Alpine foothills with the Graz Basin, a neogene hilly country that is dominated by volcanic remnants).
The West Styrian hill country (also West Styria) comprises the eastern foothills of the Styrian Randgebirge west of the Mur, Central Styria the middle Mur area with the Grazer Bergland, East Styria the East Styrian hill country drained from the Raabto the east and the Grabenland in the south; The main rivers in Styria are the Mur and Raab, which drain to the Pannonian Plain, and the Enns in the northwest. This opens the country to the east and south-east.
Climate: The great differences in altitude and the size of the land are reflected in the formation of zonal climatic landscapes, which range from the Pannonian climate variant to the high mountain climate. Precipitation is highest in the west (Altaussee at the southwest foot of the Dead Mountains with 2,000 mm annually), the southeast receives between 800 and 1,000 mm annually. Values below 800 mm per year occur in the middle Murtal east of the Neumarkter saddle. The upper Murtal and the Gesäuse in the Ennstal are among the coldest areas in Austria, while Central and Eastern Styria have a wine-growing climate in some areas. Due to inversions and higher precipitation, the Bay of Graz lags somewhat behind the warmth of the Pannonian climate in northern Burgenland and Weinviertel.
In accordance with the natural conditions, the south-east of Styria is covered with a dense network of settlements; the alpine region is only populated in valleys (but very densely there). The core areas are the Ennstal (center of Liezen), the Mur-Mürz-Furche (Leoben, Kapfenberg, Kindberg)), Palten- and Liesingtal (connect the two long valley furrows), the Leibnitzer Feld and the Graz Basin. At the beginning of the 1970s, Styria reached a temporary peak in population. Thereafter, the population development – apart from an upswing in the early 1990s as a result of increased immigration – declined until 2001; a continuous increase has been recorded since 2002, which can be attributed to migration movements (migration balance 2016: +6 343). The birth balance has been negative since 1997 (2016: -1 097). Over a fifth of Styrians live in Graz, Austria’s second largest city. In the last decade (2002–2011) it grew there as well as in the districts of Graz-Umgebung, Leibniz and Weiz the population increased in some cases considerably, while all other districts had to record population losses. Several hundred Styrian Slovenes live in the extreme south of Styria.
Religion: The last census to collect data on religious affiliation was in 2001. At that time over 81% of the population were Catholic and around 4.3% Protestant. Since then, only the number of members of individual religious communities can be used as a basis. The Protestant Christians belong to the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg and Helvetic Confessions in Austria, the Catholics to the Diocese of Graz-Seckau, which is largely congruent in area with the federal state. According to ecclesiastical information, this diocese had 833 412 members in 2015. The number of Muslims living in Styria was around 41,000 in 2012 (source: statista). There is a Jewish community in Graz (“Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Graz”).