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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Population: demographic situation, languages and religions

Czech Republic

1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.3Population: demographic situation, languages and religions

Last update: 7 February 2023

Demographic situation

Czechia has an area of 78 866 sq. km and a population of 10 682 029 (30 September 2021). The country is characterised by a high number of usually small municipalities and a relatively even distribution of population. The capital (Prague) has 1 million 335.1 thousand inhabitants (30 September 2021) and there are 5 other cities with a population of over 100 thousand.

Demographic development

Demographic development in the post-war period was uneven. This was largely due to government measures aimed at increasing the birth rate, e.g. by giving preferential treatment in the allocation of flats to families with children, by extending the length of the maternity leave period, by offering favourable loans to newly married couples.

After 1989, the demographic processes were brought into line with the West European pattern: life expectancy has increased, the birth rate has fallen, the ages at marriage and the age of women at the birth of their first child have risen. In 1996 the total fertility rate (average number of children per woman) fell below 1.2, from a level of 1.89 in 1990. It was not until 2004 that fertility exceeded 1.2 children per woman and the number of children born rose to over 100 thousand. This increase in fertility and natality was primarily due to the fact that large 70's women cohorts reached reproductive age. In recent years, the total fertility rate is 1.7 children per woman. In 2020, 110.2 thousand children were born in Czechia; the average age of mothers at the birth of their first child has been steadily increasing since the 1990s, reaching 28.5 years in 2020. The proportion of births outside marriage has also increased significantly since the 1990s (49 % in 2020). The life expectancy at birth has a long-term increasing trend, however, in 2020, for the first time in post-war history, it fell comparing to the previous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic (it was 75.3 years in men and 81.4 years in women in 2020).

Impact on education

The capacity of schools at pre-primary level reflects significant legislative changes in recent years. With effect from 1 September 2017, the compulsory final year of pre-primary education was introduced. Since 2018, three-year-olds have also been eligible for a place in nursery school (mateřská škola). This has led to a lack of places in nursery schools, especially in and around large cities. The capacity of nursery schools varies considerably regionally. According to the Czech School Inspectorate, the lack of places is most noticeable in Prague, Brno, and the Central Bohemian Region (Středočeský kraj), but in some regions, however, places are abundant. According to the law, the responsibility for missing places lies primarily with the organising bodies of nursery schools, which are most often municipalities and towns or city districts, respectively.

Irregularity of demographic development results in fluctuations of numbers of pupils/students at different educational levels which may cause capacity problems in schools. The number of children in basic schools (základní školy) has been rising since 2010, and at present and in the coming years, the segment of the second stage of basic schools will strengthen, to which numerous cohorts of pupils from the first stage have moved. The decline in fertility in the 1990s has led to decreasing numbers of pupils at the upper secondary schools (střední školy) in recent years. In 2018, the number of pupils at first grades of upper secondary schools started to grow for the first time since 1990. According to analyses, the increase, although still moderate, should continue for the following approx. 10 years. The largest segment of upper secondary education consists of pupils in vocational upper secondary education with Maturita examination (approximately 44 %), around one fifth of pupils then study in programmes without Maturita examination. Pupils of secondary general schools (gymnázia, including multi-year secondary general schools (víceletá gymnázia)) account for about 30 % of the total number of pupils in secondary education.

The total number of students and new entrants in tertiary education has visibly decreased since 2010, also due to the demographic situation, but in recent years there has been a slight increase in the total number of students.

Ensuring a sufficient number of primary and secondary school teachers is a long-term problem related to the aging of the population, as numerous groups of teachers move to higher age categories. In the near future, it is necessary to take into account the need to replace teachers leaving school after reaching retirement age.

Demographic population ageing

Czechia, like most other European countries, is facing demographic population ageing. In 2020, the pre-productive population part (0–14 years) represented 16.1 %, the productive part (15–64 years) 63.8 % and the post-productive (65 years and more) 20.2 % of the total population. According to the development forecast, the population will be ageing mainly due to higher age groups, i.e. the number of elderly people will increase while the proportion of the productive part of population will decrease.


According to the Census 2021, 4.7 % of the population were foreigners. Among them, the highest share of people in the population were citizens of Ukraine (1.4 %), Slovakia (0.9 %) and Vietnam (0.5 %). Residents with foreign citizenship from EU countries made up 1.5 % of the population and outside the EU 3.2 % of the population. (Data include only persons with one nationality.)


Source: Annual Report of the Czech School Inspectorate, Forecast for the Population Development in Czechia for the Period 2008–2070, Population Census 2021, Websites of the Czech Statistical Office, Websites of the Eurostat

Distribution of the population by age

Population (in %)1995200020052010201520182020
65 and more13.313.914.215.518.319.620.2
Total10 321 34410 232 02710 251 07910 532 77010 578 82010 649 80010 701 777

Note: As of 31 December of the given year.

Source: Czech Statistical Office

Czech Republic Population Pyramid 2020

Source: Czech Statistical Office

Vital and employment statistics






Life expectancy of men at birth71.6572.8874.3775.876.375.3
Life expectancy of women at birth78.3579.1080.6081.482.181.4
General unemployment rate 1)
Employment rate 1)55.154.754.256.459.258.3
Natural increase2)-1.8-
Net migration2)-
Total increase2)-

1) Population aged 15 +; Source: Labour Force Sample Survey (LFSS), in Czech.

2) Per 1000 inhabitants.

Source: Czech Statistical Office

Official and minority languages

The official language is Czech, which belongs to the western Slavic family of languages. Regional dialects do not possess the status of a language and as groups of people using dialects are small dialect is not a problem in schools.

According to the Act on Rights of Racial Minorities Members and Amending Some Acts, people have freedom to declare their membership of a national minority and their enjoyment of the related rights. Traditional national minorities include Slovaks, Poles and Germans. Moravians and Silesians speak Czech.

In the Census 2021, 83.8 % of those who filled in the question on nationality declared themselves to be Czech, 5.0 % to Moravian nationality and 0.2 % to Silesian nationality. Of the other nationalities, Slovak (1.3 %), Ukrainian (1.1 %) and Vietnamese (0.4 %) were the most frequently declared nationalities. (Completion of the question on nationality was voluntary, 31.6 % of people left it unfinished, while in the 2011 census it was 25.3). (Data include only persons of one specified nationality.)

Information about education of minorities is available in Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education in Chapter 12.


The State is denominationally neutral, which means that there is no official religion. Freedom of religion is granted by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and everybody has the right to express their own religion or belief.

The traditionally low number of people practising religions has decreased further, following a short period of growth after 1989. In the Census 2021, in response to religious belief, 18.7 % of those who completed the question declared that they believed in God and belonged to a church or religious society. The answer “without religious faith” accounted for more than two thirds (68.3 %) of the answers. Less than a tenth of the population (9 %) said they believed in God but did not belong to any church or religious society. Filling in the question on religious faith was voluntary, 30.1 % of people left it blank (at the 2011 census it was 44.7 %).

Due to historical developments (the reformation movement at the beginning of the 15th century and the strong counter-reformation associated with the arrival of the Habsburg dynasty which resulted in re-catholicisation after 1627), the Roman Catholic Church (54 % of all believers according to the Census 2021) is the biggest church. The Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren and the Czechoslovak Hussite Church are the other two most important churches. As of January 2022, there were 44 churches and religious societies registered in the Register of Churches and Religious Communities (according to the Act on Churches and Religious Communities, the condition for registration is a minimum of 300 adult followers).

Schools only opened up to religious influences after 1989, both in the curriculum (re-introduction of a possibility to teach religion as a subject, and the introduction of information on churches into history and civic education), and in organisation (the establishment of denominational schools, abolishing quantitative restrictions on theological studies). Religious education at public schools is governed by the Education Act.