Credit: KB/BD

Foreign Population of Prague Increases Almost Six-Fold In Last Two Decades

The number of foreign nationals living in Prague grew from 61,000 to 345,000 from 2001 to the end of 2022, according to an analysis prepared by the city’s Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) and presented to city councillors yesterday. Foreigners now make up about a quarter of the Czech capital’s population. 

Without the influx of foreign residents, the total population of the city would have slightly decreased. Most foreigners in Prague are from Ukraine, Slovakia, Russia and Vietnam. The analysis is based on data from the Immigration Police, which records residence permits.

According to the analysis, there were about 170,000 Ukrainians, 31,000 Slovaks, 27,000 Russians, 15,000 Vietnamese and 102,000 members of other nationalities in Prague at the end of 2022. According to the document, most foreigners are between the ages of 24 and 42, while higher age categories are minimally represented.

“Foreigners move to Prague primarily for economic or work reasons, but also to study and for the quality of the urban environment. Prague is clearly the most attractive city (and region) in the Czech Republic for foreigners,” the document reads.

According to the analysis, the growth in the number of foreigners was significantly increased by Russia’s attack on Ukraine in 2022, after which more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees found a home in Prague. However, the document also notes that the total number of residence permits granted may not accurately reflect the actual number of Ukrainians in the capital, as there is no accurate record of those who no longer reside in the Czech Republic.

Overall, according to the analysis, the inward migration of foreign nationals means that the population of the metropolis is not decreasing. Without them, Prague’s population would have dropped by about 5,000 between 2016 and 2021, due to demographics and people moving out of the city. According to the document, between 2016 and 2021 an average of just under 15,000 foreigners arrived in Prague each year, of which 12,000 were migrant arrivals and the remaining 3,000 or so were children of immigrants.

According to the analysis, the population of foreign nationals in Prague is younger than the Czech population, with an average age of 35.5 years, compared to the average age of Czech citizenship of 42.9 years in 2021. “Without foreigners, Prague’s population would be approximately at the national level (43 years old),” the analysis says. The mortality rate is very low given the minimal representation of seniors among foreign nationals. According to the document, the number of foreigners will continue to increase in the coming years.

Prague’s population rose by 27,406 to 1.38 million last year, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CSO). However, according to analyses of geolocation data from mobile phone operators, there are 200,000 to 300,000 more people living in the capital than indicated by the official data. The discrepancy is related to commuting for work or study, when people do not return home every day, or to the failure to report changes of residence to the population register.

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