Bruchsal - Compared to West Europe, Czechs are still poor relatives in the European Union. They have a five times less money to spend than the Swiss, and three times less than the Germans or the French.
But within "the new Europe", Czechs still make the top class.
This is the summary of the newest survey by a German company GfK GeoMarketing. The study measured the national wealth by taking in account the purchasing power parity - a sum that every inhabitant can spend every year.
Among the new EU members, the most well-off are the Slovenes. Annually, they can spend in average three thousand euros more than the Czechs, the Central-East Europe's number two.
East vs. West, Center vs. East
The poorest in the whole Europe are Albanians, Ukrainians, and Moldovans. A citizen of these states can spend 685 euros a year - for comparison, a Swiss can spend the same amount of money in eight days.
There are big differences between Central Europe and East Europe, too. For example, people in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, are two times richer than the people in Bucharest, Romania.
And even though Prague is the richest place in the Czech Republic, its inhabitants are still two times poorer than the inhabitants of the poorest regions of Switzerland.
Yet, lower purchasing power parity of the Czechs doesn't mean that the nation spends less. At the beginning of this year, there were 251 hypermarkets with total shopping area larger than 1 million square meters - the highest number of these giant malls per capita in the whole Europe.
Some people will undoubtedly see the link between the Czech Republic's unofficial status of the most atheist nation in all of Europe and the unparalelled density of the "temples of consumerism", as these megamalls are sometimes called.