Almost a quarter of a million Czechs cannot pay for basic life necessities, survey shows

Thousands of demonstrators gather to protest against the government at Vencesla's Square in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
By M B
3 Min Read

According to the analysis of the Neviditelní (Invisibles) project, over a million Czechs are part of low-income households. Previously, they often lived paycheck to paycheck, and their situation has worsened significantly due to rising inflation. However, in many cases, social benefits would help.

Research for the Neviditelní project showed that approximately 1,153,000 people in the Czech Republic live in households that can be described as low-income. A low-income household has an income below 60 percent of the median average income per person. So, if the median income for the 1st quarter of this year is CZK 31,923, the poverty line is CZK 19,153.80.

The joint income in a family usually covers basic daily needs but does not allow you to create a financial reserve and improve your life.

How low-income families live

“Half of these households can afford maybe one week-long family vacation per year, but they usually don’t have the opportunity to get a mortgage, for example, and they also react badly to unexpected expenses, such as buying a new washing machine,” says Kateřina Jarošová from Provident Financial, the initiator of the Neviditelní project

A high rate of inflation increases the price of essential products and services. It is alarming that more than a tenth of low-income Czechs cannot pay their current expenses, and another 9 percent can only do so by using savings. A quarter of a million people do not have access to basic life necessities.

Unfortunately, these people do not have many options to solve their situation, as not everyone can manage part-time jobs while working full-time.

“Almost a third of people said that they don’t have the time or energy for a part-time job. On the contrary, 19 percent of people would like a part-time job. Low-income households can thus rely only on the solidarity of family members or actively start using social benefits,” says Aleš Rod, economist and director of the Center for Economic and Market Analysis (CETA).

Nevertheless, according to the survey, 43 percent of low-income families do not use any help from the state. And what is the reason?

“The whole system is very complex and incomprehensible to many people. Although employees at employment offices usually try to help, for some it is difficult to secure, for example, all the necessary documents, and they often end up giving up on applications,” added Rod. The second reason is simply shame.

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