Survey: Most Czechs optimistic about upcoming year, but inflation concern very high

The majority of Czechs are optimistic about the upcoming year. Meanwhile, a third expect it will be worse that 2021, according to a newly released Median survey commissioned by Czech Radio. Respondents said rising inflation and the devaluation of their savings are their biggest concern going into 2022.

Despite Prime Minister Petr Fiala warning that 2022 will be one of the “hardest since the formation of the Czech Republic”, 59 percent of respondents in the survey were optimistic that the upcoming year will be better than the previous one. This positive attitude to the future was particularly noticeable among younger people, students, Praguers and voters of the freshly installed government coalition.

Jan Krajhanzl | Photo: Michaela Danelová,  Czech Radio

Meanwhile, most of the pessimistic responses came from pensioners, the unemployed, ANO party voters and workers without a high school education.

Masaryk University Sociologist Jan Krajhanzl told Czech Radio that over-65’s do not normally belong to the most dissatisfied segments of the population. He believes that concerns about the upcoming year come from these social groups especially due to fears of economic uncertainty. This view is also bolstered by the fact that 90 percent of respondents said inflation would be a medium to very serious concern in 2022.

The survey also revealed that Czechs are increasingly less concerned about the danger of Covid-19. Whereas last year, the coronavirus was identified as a serious threat by more than half of all the respondents, this year it was just a little over a third. In fact, fears Islamic terror attacks and of the weakening of European and Christian values through immigration, replaced Covid as the second most serious threat to the country this year, according to the survey, although the coronavirus epidemic still came in second within the lower, “medium threat” category.

Přemysl Čech | Photo: Tomáš Roček,  Czech Radio

Přemysl Čech, director of the Median agency, which conducted the survey, told Czech Radio that there are several factors that may play a role in the coronavirus becoming less threatening in the eyes of the population.

“I would interpret these results by suggesting that we have learned to live with Covid. We are less afraid and it is no longer as much of a shock. Furthermore, to a certain degree, the fact that we have vaccines means that being infected with the virus is less likely to pose a serious health risk.”

Another reason that he says may have played a role in the results was the question itself, which asked respondents to identify issues that they believe pose a threat to Europe and the quality of life to its inhabitants.

Although most Czechs seem to be hopeful about the upcoming year, this does not mean that they will necessarily be satisfied when it concludes. More than half of the respondents surveyed said that the previous year, 2021, had been worse than they had expected.

This was again roughly dependent on voting patterns and socioeconomic categories, with voters of the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party, as well as women over the age of 74 and economically inactive respondents most commonly providing a negative response. Meanwhile, young people, those with a university education and voters of the Pirates and Mayors coalition stated that 2021 had been better than they expected.