Friday, 25 April 2014

Second Czechoslovak census held 80 years ago

ČTK |
30 November 2010

Prague, Nov 29 (CTK) - The second population census in the former Czechoslovakia was held 80 years ago, on December 1, 1930, counting the present population, occupations and property.

The census revealed that Czechoslovakia had 13,998,497 residents, 10,674,386 of whom in the present-day Czech Republic.

Compared with the first census, taken on February 15, 1921, when the population number stood at 13,003,446 (10,009,587 in the Czech Lands), it was almost one million more.

The 1930 census introduced a number of novelties.

As one of the three European countries, Czechoslovakia registered for the first time women's fertility, the data crucial for the research of reproduction.

The previous residence was ascertained as well.

However, the biggest discussions were prompted by the ethnic origin of Czechoslovak citizens.

This was already included in the 1921 census, when it was expected to confirm the rightfulness of the establishment of Czechoslovakia, but the definition of ethnic origin was subjected to criticism.

The census ascertained ethnic origin directly, but with the instruction that, as a rule, it should be filled in according to the mother tongue.

A number of demographers said even earlier that ethnic origin and mother tongue should be recorded separately.

The census results were published in eight volumes and another volume was devoted to the results on housing.

However, a housing count was only conducted in the towns over 10,000 residents, which only related to 17 percent of the total population.

Another population census was scheduled to take place in 1940. Czech politicians and statistics cancelled it, arguing that it was unprepared in the occupied rump of the country, but the main reason was purportedly the effort not to provide any data for war economy to German authorities.

The first post-war census was taken in 1950.

During its 74-year existence, Czechoslovakia organised seven censuses (1921, 1930, 1950, 1961, 1970, 1980 and 1991), but their history goes back much farther.

The 1651 count of Bohemia's population according to denomination is widely credited with having been the first modern census.

It was conducted at the insistence of Catholic Church. It was to inform the authorities about the progress of recatholisation.

A picture on the population number can be drawn on the basis of the 1702 count of salt consumers. According to the estimate, Bohemia was inhabited by about 1,732,000 people.

However, regular population censuses were only introduced by a decree from Habsburg Empress and Czech Queen Maria Theresa from October 1753 that ordered the count of all the population according to sex, age and marital status.

The first count was carried out in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia), Upper and Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Tirol and Carniola in spring 1754.

Since the count was the first of its type in Europe, Maria Theresa thus laid the foundations of later modern population censuses.

The 1869 census is considered the first real modern one. It showed that Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia in present-day borders had 7,617,230 inhabitants.

Under law, Austrian authorities had to take a census in ten years, at the end of the year ending with nought or at the beginning of the next year.

This habit was preserved by Czechoslovakia and it is used until now.

Starting 1869, the census data have been published. The last census, the first in the independent Czech Republic, was taken in 2001. The next is scheduled for next March.

Population according to census results, 1869-2001:

Total number * Czechs (%)
1869 7,617,230 --
1880 8,222,013 --
1890 8,665,421 --
1900 9,372,214 --
1910 10,078,637 --
1921 10,009,587 67.5**
1930 10,674,386 68.3**
1950 8,896,133 93.9
1961 9,571,531 94.2
1970 9,807,697 94.4
1980 10,291,927 94.6
1991 10,302,215 81.2***
2001 10,230,060 90.5***

* - recalculated to the territory of present-day Czech Republic, in 1869-1950, population present, in 1961-2001 population with permanent residence

** - in 1921 and 1930 Germans constituted the second most populous ethnic group (30.6 % in 1921 and 29.5 % in 1930)

*** - in 1991 and 2001 there were also Moravian (12.2 % v 1991, 0,4 % v 2001) and Silesian ethnic groups (3.7 % and 0.1 %)

Source: CSU

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