What attitudes do Czech citizens have towards various nationalities and ethnic groups?

Czech citizens have a very good long-term relationship with Slovaks. This is also true of their relationship with the English, French, Americans and Germans. STEM surveys have revealed year after year a continuous and gradual improvement in the attitudes of Czech citizens towards Vietnamese, Russian and Chinese nationals. Czechs are less receptive to Afghans, Chechens, the Roma, Syrians and Arabs in general.

The survey cited here was conducted by the STEM non-profit institute (www.stem.cz) on a representative sample of the Czech population aged 18 and over from 16 to 23 March 2016. Respondents were selected using a quota sampling method, with some 1,050 people taking part in the survey.

Over the years, STEM has been monitoring Czech attitudes towards foreigners in its regular surveys. It has been examining tolerance and acceptance of the various nationalities and ethnic groups living in the Czech Republic through the population’s willingness to have them as neighbours.

Slovaks are traditionally rated the highest by the Czech population, with 93 % of respondents having no problem with them. More than three-quarters of the public would have no problem having English (82 %), French (79 %) or American (78 %) neighbours. A slightly lower proportion of individuals would have no problem with German neighbours (73 %), and a roughly two-thirds majority of citizens would also have no reservations about having Jews (66 %) and Croatians (63 %) as neighbours. The group of nationalities accepted by Czechs has remained stable in recent years. This finding is interesting in the context of Czech attitudes towards Western European countries. In our December 2015 survey, we observed a significant drop in positive ratings for Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, no such fall in ratings was measured in terms of Czech attitudes towards the inhabitants of these countries. This illustrates the differentiation between attitudes towards citizens of a particular country and towards the country itself.

Over half the population would be very amenable to having Volyn and Kazakh Czechs (54 %) or Vietnamese (52 %) as neighbours. Half the population (50 %) would have no reservations about having Russian neighbours, and over two-fifths of the public would have no problem having Serbian (46 %), Chinese (45 %), Indian (42 %) or Ukrainian (41 %) neighbours.

This is the first time that Egyptians, Turks and Syrians were included in the survey. A third of respondents would have no problem with Egyptian neighbours (33 %). Turks and Syrians, and people commonly referred to as Arabs, as well as Chechens and Afghans, are ranked among the least accepted nationalities/ethnicities.

Another group that Czech citizens would least want as neighbours is the Roma. According to the STEM surveys conducted since 1994, the Czech public has a bad long-term relationship with the Roma minority. According to the current survey, only 15 % of Czech citizens would have no problem having Roma neighbours, almost one-quarter would find it unpleasant, one-quarter would find it difficult and over one-third (35 %) would find such a living situation totally unacceptable.

Source: STEM, Trends 3/2016, 1050 respondents

As mentioned above, Czech public opinion on the highest rated nationalities (Slovaks, English, French, Americans, Germans, etc.) has remained largely unchanged since last year’s survey. Czech attitudes towards Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese nationals have only moderately improved, which is in keeping with the trend of the past number of years.

The first graph below illustrates in detail the gradual improvement in the attitudes of the Czech population towards the Vietnamese and Chinese. For illustration purposes, the graph also demonstrates the development of Czech attitudes towards Arabs, which is very gradually deteriorating. The second graph shows how – when compared with Czech attitudes towards Americans and Germans which have remained consistent over the years – there has been a gradual improvement in attitudes towards Russians in recent years.

Source: STEM, Trends 2000-2016

Source: STEM, Trends 2000-2016


Source: STEM, Trends 3/2014, 3/2015, 3/2016

Czech attitudes to the different nationalities are significantly influenced by level of education. University graduates are more likely to have a positive attitude towards Jews, Vietnamese, Chinese, Croatians, Serbians, Germans, Syrians, Russians and other nationalities (see graph below).

*Secondary School Leaving Certificate,
equiv. A Levels in the UK, High School Diploma in the US
Source: STEM, Trends 3/2016, 1050 respondents

Differences by age are not as pronounced. The only substantial difference in opinion is in relation to attitudes towards Americans and Germans. The over 60s have a slightly worse attitude towards these nationalities than those in younger age categories, primarily the under 30s (84 % of citizens aged 18 to 29 would have no problem having American neighbours and 79 % would have no problem with German neighbours; for the over 60s, the proportions are 74 % and 68 %, respectively).