More Czechs than ever now living alone

The number of one-person households in the Czech Republic is on the rise. In fact, according to government figures released this week, one in four Czech households is single-occupant. In 2002, roughly 900,000 of the country’s population lived in one-person households. But by last year that figure had risen by over a quarter of a million. In the capital, the trend is even more pronounced: forty percent of Prague’s residents live by themselves. Martin Potůček, head of the Center for Social and Economic Strategies at Charles University, speaks about the meaning of this data.

“Well, the findings were not surprising, there’s an increasing number of singles in the Czech Republic, so there are more one-person households in the Czech Republic.”

And what are some of the factors, why is this number increasing?

“There are subjective and objective factors and of course, there are situations where people opt for such an arrangement and there are situations where people are more or less forced to live alone, such as widows.

“In terms of objective factors, I guess one of the reasons is that it is not a favorable situation for young people to establish regular family ties and to have children. Unfortunately, during the transformation which our country has experienced since 1989, much less attention was paid to favorable conditions for families.”

So would you say that in the Czech Republic, the situation for young people seeking to establish a relationship or even a family is less favorable then in other European countries?

Martin Potůček
“Definitely, if I compare the situation of Czechs with the situation of Austrians, or French or Danish young people, definitely that is the case. The situation is much less favorable. I guess much more stress was put on economic reform during the transformation than on preserving or increasing favorable conditions for young families.

“I guess another aspect is a general trend in Europe, and not only in Europe, and this is what I would call individualization of lifestyles, that people simply opt freely to live alone in order to have, of course, more time for their hobbies, for enjoying life in general and less responsibilities. That’s also a sort of value shift that has influenced the present situation.”