People believe that the Czech economy is doing better

Half of Czech citizens (48 %) believe that the Czech economy is the same as it was one year ago, whereas almost two-fifths (37 %) think that it has improved. Compared to the last survey in 2014, there has been an obvious increase (of 25 %) in the proportion of respondents who positively rated Czech economic development. In terms of the economic outlook for next year, half of the population (50 %) expect the situation to remain the same, over one-quarter (27 %) expect an improvement, with, by contrast, just under a quarter (23 %) expecting a worsening of the economic situation. An over three-fifths majority of respondents (62 %) stated that there had been no change in their household’s financial situation over the past year. The difference is minimal between the proportion of people who reported an improvement in their personal financial situation and those who said it had deteriorated (19 % and 21 % respectively). Opinions are similarly divided on change in household finances in the coming year.

The survey cited here was conducted by the STEM non-profit institute on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 9 to 16 February 2016. Respondents were selected using a quota sampling method, with some 1,014 people taking part in the survey.

Since 1993 STEM has been continually monitoring how Czech citizens perceive the development of the Czech economy and the financial situation of their own household. The institute has also been asking respondents what trends they expect in the coming 12 months. Negative assessments, both retrospective and prospective, which were characteristic of the period following the 2008 economic crisis, are now a thing of the past. The 2014 survey already demonstrates a change in public attitudes. The current results indicate strongly positive assessments, in particular of Czech economic development during the past year.

Almost two-fifths of citizens believe that the economic situation in the Czech Republic has improved over the past year. Half of respondents are inclined to think that the economic situation has remained the same. The proportion of citizens who believe that the situation has deteriorated is in the minority (15 %). While assessing their own household finances, a clear majority of respondents stated that it had “remained the same” (62 %). There is no substantial difference between the proportion of people who believe their situation has improved and those who consider their situation to have deteriorated.

Source: STEM, Trends 2016/2, 1014 respondents

In the years since 1993, when STEM started conducting its surveys, there have been visible decreases followed by subsequent increases in the proportion of positive views on the overall economic situation in the Czech Republic. The economic crises of 1997 and 2008 are particularly obvious (the proportion of respondents who believed that the economy had improved or remained the same fell by 45 % from March 2008 to March 2009). Following a significant rise in the proportion of positive assessments of the Czech economy in 2014 (of 28 %), the current data indicates yet another substantial increase (of 20 %).

According to the series of STEM surveys, the assessment of household finances has remained more stable over the years, although from 2009 onwards the impact of the economic crisis was also evident in respondents’ subjective perception of their household financial situation, as assessed retrospectively. As with the overall economic situation, we have recorded a gradual rise in positive assessments of household finances, right up to a historical high of 85 %.

Source: STEM, Trends 1993-2016

We have provided specific data on the most recent changes (viz. graphs below) in the overall development of the economic situation in the Czech Republic, together with respondents’ personal financial situation, as assessed retrospectively by the public. In terms of their assessment on the general economic situation, first of all in 2014 there is a rise in cautious responses, i.e. that the situation had not changed (increase of 20 %); two years later people were already “more radical” and there was a rise in the proportion of those who considered their financial situation to be somewhat better (in fact, an increase of 25 %). The proportion of those who believe that their situation has remained unchanged is the same, however. Overall, these figures represent a total 55 % decline in negative assessments since 2013. Therefore, the development of economic indicators for the Czech economy and the way in which they are presented in the media are also reflected in public opinion.

A fall in the proportion of negative assessments of household finances is also clearly evident, (a decrease of 29 % since 2013), as is a gradual increase in the proportion of those who consider their financial situation to be stable (an increase of 20 % since 2013), as perceived retrospectively by respondents.

Source: STEM, Trends 2013-2016

Source: STEM, Trends 2013-2016

Citizens who are better educated and better off financially more frequently have a positive perspective on the state of the Czech economy and their household finances in the past. However, the significant rise in positive assessments of the Czech economy over the past 12 months has not only been among university graduates and those with a secondary school education; this trend has also been recorded among people with apprenticeships. Those with a primary school education only are more likely to believe that there has been no change in the overall economic situation.


What is interesting is that the most substantial decrease in respondents who felt that their household financial situation had deteriorated was recorded among the over 60s, a group of people who are traditionally fairly negative in their assessment of their financial situation.

2Prospects for the future

As regards the outlook for the Czech economy in the coming 12 months, half the population do not expect any significant changes. More than a quarter expect an improvement in the Czech Republic’s economic situation, with a slightly lower proportion predicting a deterioration. The division of opinions on the outlook for household finances in the future is similar to respondents’ perspectives of household finances, assessed retrospectively – the most widely-held opinion is that household finances will remain the same (held by a nearly two-thirds majority of respondents).

Source: STEM, Trends 2016/2, 1014 respondents

Over the years the surveys conducted by STEM have indicated a gradual increase in optimism about the future of the Czech economy and household finances. The proportion of respondents who are optimistic about the future prospects for their household finances is at a historical high (similar to their retrospective viewpoint).

Source: STEM, Trends 1993-2016

The figures in the following graph illustrate the positive results of the survey which indicate that the Czech population is relatively optimistic, even about the future. The proportion of people who are pessimistic about the Czech Republic’s future economic outlook has decreased by 9 %, while the proportion of those who are pessimistic about what lies ahead in terms of their own household financial situation has fallen by 14 %.

Source: STEM, Trends 2014/3, 2016/2

If we combine the answers with regard to the expected development of the Czech economy and household finances, we can divide the population into four groups:

  • “optimists”: those who expect an improvement in both the Czech economy and in their household finances or an improvement in one of the areas and a neutral development in the other
  • “realists”: those who either expect the situation to remain unchanged in both cases or expect an improvement in the one of the areas and a deterioration in the other
  • “moderate pessimists”: those who predict a deterioration in one of the areas and stagnation in the other
  • and “pessimists”: those who anticipate a decline in the Czech economy and in their household finances.

At first glance, the typology developed since 2011 indicates an obvious decline in the “pessimists” group and an increase in the number of “optimists” and “realists”.

Source: STEM, Trends 2011-2016