Why has number of Czechs living alone hit nearly 40 percent?

A new iRozhlas.cz report has found a sharp rise in the number of single-occupant homes in Czechia, from 32 percent in 2011 to 39 percent a decade later. The jump is attributed to an increase in single people in major cities and more seniors, often widows, living by themselves. I discussed the findings with the report’s author, Jan Boček of Czech Radio’s data journalism team.

Jan Boček | Photo: Khalil Baalbaki,  Czech Radio

“There are two main causes. One of them is the increase in single-person households in the Sudetenland, which is probably mostly older people, especially ladies, because they live a bit longer than men – so most of them are widows.

“And then the other trend is the increase of single-person households among young people living in the big cities, like in Prague and in Brno and Ostrava, who are single people.”

But why are there so many? In Prague it’s 47 percent single-occupancy households – why is it so high?

“In the large cities you’ve got a lot of different lifestyles and people are using to living single, so it’s easier in bigger cities to live like this.

Photo: Sebastian Schaeffer,  Stock.xchng

“But we can see that this percentage has increased over time.

“We have data from censuses since 1930 and we can see that in 1930 about 8 percent single person households and now it is overall 40 percent in the Czech Republic, so you can see it’s slowly increasing.”

Are there parts of the country where people are most likely to live together, I guess mainly in family units?

“Yes, especially in Southern Moravia and the Highlands [Vysočina] there are more complete families.

“It may be partly due to much higher religiosity than in the rest of the country.

“But we can also see more full, complete families around the big cities, in satellite towns and villages.”

I saw on Twitter that you referred to the fact that in the UK there is a Ministry of Loneliness. In the UK there’s around 30 percent single-occupant homes, which is considerably less than here. I guess that could be taken to suggest that there’s a social problem, or a potential social problem, with loneliness in Czechia?

Photo: Pexels,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

“In 2018 we registered the fact Britain’s new ministry and we wrote an article about it.

“We asked the Czech government whether they were planning to do anything about loneliness here in the Czech Republic.

“And they told us that it’s divided between two ministries, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs, and that it’s hard to do anything about it because not one of them is interested in that.”