Baby boom and immigration prop up Czech population

Veronika Suchá and Pavel Vondra
20. 9. 2007 18:15
Statistics show 1970s "Husák´s Children" get down on it
Time to recapitulate. In the eternal struggle between life and death, the former scored more points this year
Time to recapitulate. In the eternal struggle between life and death, the former scored more points this year | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Prague - There was 10 325 941 people living in the Czech Republic when the latest census was done at the end of June.

That represents a population increase of 39 thousand during the first six months of this year.

"Thanks to the higher number of childbirths and lower number of deaths we recorded a natural population growth of nearly 4,5 thousand people in the first half of 2007," the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) announced today as it released the latest figures.

The rest - more than 34 thousand people - are foreigners who came to live in the Czech Republic.

READ MORE: Life-span varies dramatically in the Czech Republic

Ready, set, baby boom

The number of children born in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, was higher by almost 3,7 thousand, the statistics show.

There have been 56 thousand babies born altogether, which is the highest number since 1994.


Gustáv Husák

Husák's Children

The term is used for the generation of children born in the 1970s when Gustáv Husák was the president of Czechoslovakia.

Husák was eventually succeeded by Václav Havel in December 1989 in the wake of what came to be known as the Velvet Revolution.

During the years of the so-called normalisation, which Husák oversaw and which came after the 1968 Soviet invasion killed the attempt to reform the socialist system in the country, the government policies of subsidized housing, long maternity leave and, crucially, the lack of anything else to do, combined to produce a genuine baby boom.

Its aftershocks are now beginning to be felt in the Czech Republic with "Husák's children" having their own offspring.

The main reason behind the current baby boom, experts are saying, is the fact that the 1970s generation of baby boomers, known popularly as Husákovy děti or Husák's Children after the last communist president of Czechoslovakia (see the infobox), is finally having children too.

That is not necessarily good news for the supporters of the "traditional familes" as more and more children are being born out of wedlock.

Marriages, divorces, abortions

The number of marriages remained low in the first six months of this year with nearly half of the newlyweds exchanging their vows in June, a traditional peak in the Czech wedding season.

Months between January and May are typically shunned by those getting married in the Czech Republic while June sees a big increase in the "wedding traffic".

Another strong phenomenon in the Czech Republic, the number of divorces, dropped below 16 thousand in the first six months of this year.

No need to celebrate in the conservative quarters either though: the statistical bureau points out that the methodology has changed, which can explain the difference, rather than divorce suddenly losing its appeal.

And while the number of abortions, which the statisticians also keep track of, slightly increased by about three, the number of those done of the prospective mothers' own volition continues to decrease.

"Out of the 20 570 abortions, only 63 per cent were not miscarriages or extrauterine pregnancy terminations," the analysis explains.


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