Poverty in the Czech Republic. A quarter of people are on the brink, a unique survey revealed

Poverty in the Czech Republic. A quarter of people are on the brink, a unique survey revealed
Poverty in the Czech Republic. A quarter of people are on the brink, a unique survey revealed

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“We must prevent the fall into poverty. It’s hard to get out of it in the Czech Republic,” said Daniel Münich, a sociologist and member of the NERV government council.

Last year, this target was not met and hundreds of thousands of households were brought to the brink of poverty. This is one of the results of research by the Czech Statistical Office on the living conditions of households (SILC), in which over ten thousand families participated in the first half of 2023.

The results show that people felt the effects of the extraordinary high price in full force only in its second year.

This is most visible in the statements mapping the subjective feeling of poverty. For example, in the years 2020-2022, five percent of households could not “eat meat every day”, i.e. at least for the last 15 years, when the CZSO has been conducting the survey. Last year, however, the share of those who had to save on food increased to eight percent. According to another key parameter, roughly three percent of Czechs did not have enough money for heating in the last five years, but last year it was seven percent.

In other words, this means that roughly 800,000 Czech residents have to actively save on food and the temperature in their apartment. In this way, at least from his point of view, he fulfills two important prerequisites of poverty.

As expected, the decline in quality of life was felt more by people with lower incomes. From households where the monthly income per person is only ten thousand crowns net, every fifth family had to limit their meat consumption, and every seventh household cooked less than they would have liked.

At the same time, the SILC survey confirms the hypothesis that people reacted to the increase in the price of energy and other housing costs with strict savings. It was only with difficulty that almost half of the families, where the income per person reaches only ten thousand per month, were able to pay them.

State aid has widened the gap, data shows

Fears that rising energy and food prices will plunge a significant portion of Czechs into poverty have led experts to call for the state to help those in need. But unique data show that state intervention has made the problems of low-income people even worse.

However, it is not only the poorest. Housing costs are difficult to manage for 22 percent of Czech households, i.e. about two and a half million inhabitants. Their frustration will not go away so quickly, considering that housing prices were also increasing at the beginning of this year.

The Munich sociologist’s statement about how easy it is to get poor and how difficult it is to get out of poverty confirms the development before and after the crisis.

The financial situation of families improved for a long time, but within one year it went back several years. Specifically, the same proportion of Czechs had to save on meat and other more expensive food items last year as last time in 2017. We last saved on heating in the same way as last year in 2013.

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The article is in Czech


Tags: Poverty Czech Republic quarter people brink unique survey revealed


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