Czechs are living longer, but many do not live well in retirement – in terms of both their physical and financial well-being. With the population rapidly aging, the nation’s already low level of “life expectancy in health” is set to further decline. The Czech government has asked the OECD to help determine how best to make the pension system sustainable. Experts say changing seniors’ dietary and lifestyle habits is a key part of the solution.
The time spent by Czechs in retirement on average has increased by nearly
four years and four months since 2000, and now stands at about 24 years and
three months, according to an annual study by the Czech Social Security
The main reason is that Czechs are living longer. At the time of the Velvet Revolution, the life expectancy for a Czech man was 68, eight years lower than today at 76. In the last year of Communism, a Czech woman could expect to live to 75.5, compared to 82 now.
At the turn of the millennium, the average retirement pension was paid for nearly 20 years – 16 years and 10 months for men and 22 years and nine months for women. In 1990, the average pension was paid for 16 years, up from 11 years in 1970.
Czech society has changed dramatically since 1989, and not only
politically. Czechs are living longer and having fewer children, but while
the population is aging it is not declining, thanks to an influx of
immigrants. These are among some of the more striking findings of the Czech
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, the life expectancy for a Czech man was 68, eight years lower than today at 76. In the last year of Communism, a Czech woman could expect to live to 75.5, compared to 82 now.
Seniors now account for nearly 20 percent of the population, up from 13 percent in 1989. Meanwhile, children under the age of 15 make up 16 percent of the population, down from 22 percent three decades ago.
The Czech Republic experienced a baby boom around 2008, when the so-called Husák's children generation of the 1970s, began having children of their own. Even so, the annual birth rate reached a maximum of 120,000. In recent years, it has been around 114,000.
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, there were 3.4 foreigners for every 1,000 Czechs compared to 53 today. Thirty years ago, one in 294 residents were born abroad, compared to one in 19 today.
As elsewhere in the developed world, the average life expectancy for Czech men and women has been growing, but the sad news is that they are not spending their old age in good health. The Czech Health Ministry is ringing alarm bells and focussing on campaigns that will raise awareness of the health risks responsible for serious illnesses in the aging population.
Approximately 190,000 Czech pensioners are living under the poverty line,
with pensions under 10,000 crowns a month, according to data released by
the Czech Social Administration Office.
60,000 thousand pensioners are having to make do with pensions under 8,000 crowns a month.
The poverty line last year was 11,963 crowns per month for individuals living alone. This year it is expected to be higher.
The average old age pension last year was 13,377 crown a month, with men receiving an average pension of 14,697crowns a month and women receiving an average pension of 12,182 crowns a month.
Czech travel agencies have noted a steady rise in clients over the age of sixty, reflecting increased spending power among seniors looking to enjoy – in many cases –a long overdue foreign holiday. With the population rapidly ageing, this demographic will be an ever-greater part of agencies’ clientele. And a demanding one, at that.
The oldest citizen of the Czech Republic, Marie Schwarzová of Brno,
celebrated her 109th birthday on Wednesday.
According to a district mayor, who attended a ceremony in her honour and asked if she had any birthday wishes, Mrs Schwarzová said she would like a linden tree on her street to be trimmed so as to allow more sunlight into her home.
Mrs Schwarzová, a former teacher and amateur actress, was born in Brno in 1910, when it was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Coalition parties ANO and the Social Democrats have agreed to set up a new
commission on pensions. It will explore changes to the pension system and
should contain party representatives, experts, academics and people from
seniors’ organisations and NGOs.
ANO and the Social Democrats have also agreed to increase the state children’s allowance. From 2020 families will get a total of CZK 300,000, up from the present amount of CZK 220,000.