Prague - Among all the regions of the Czech Republic, the Plzeň and Central Bohemian regions are the most successful in using their high levels of prosperity for the benefit of their inhabitants.
Aktuálně.cz came to this conclusion after studying the level of development the Czech regions have reached since they were established in 2000. At the time, it was decided that regional authorities will have the right to determine or at least to co-determine their education, healthcare and economic policies.
Aktuálně.cz discussed their research with university experts.
Geographic location matters
On the eve of the regional elections in October, it appears that the Central Bohemian and Plzeň regions (west Bohemia) have reached the best economic results.
It is important to note that these regions' prosperity is based on their favorable geographic location - the former encompasses Prague, the latter lies on the highway that links the capital and the prosperous Bavarian region in Germany.
Due to their prosperity, both regions experience the highest internal migration.
Surprisingly, the Ostrava and Vysočina regions also showed promising results.
On the other hand, northern regions and regions of the former "Sudeteland" area appear to be the most underdeveloped in the Czech Republic.
Line of prosperity
Geographically, the more successful regions form a horizontal block from the west to the east, connecting the major Czech and Moravian cities - Plzeň, Prague, Brno and Ostrava.
Eight years ago, it was the South Moravian and Hradec Králové regions that took the second leading place in terms of development and prosperity, with Prague being always the undisputed biggest economic leader of the country.
In eight years, these two regions were surpassed by others.
South Bohemian region suffers from bad traffic connection that is a deterrent for some investors.
Hradec Králové region is experiencing similar problems. However, while South Bohemia can at least rely on minor trans-border investment from Austria, the Hradec Králové region borders only with economically less developed Poland.
Nonethless, the majority of the less developed zones are found in the north of Bohemia.
Ironically, this was the most prosperous industrial region of the Hapsburg Empire in the 17th-19th centuries. After the majority of the German population was expeled after World War II, these areas became the center of heavy industrialization efforts of the Communist regime.
As the regime fell in 1989 and the economic focus was shifted toward the tertiary sector of services, the area experienced gradual economic and social decline.
Currently, even the economically more prosperous part of the former Sudetenland such as Karlovy Vary (west Bohemia) and Liberec regions are experiencing serious social problems such as almost non-existent middle class.
The Zlín region in south-east Moravia has economic problems too as it lacks more massive investments and people tend to move from the region to other parts of the country.