Geografie 1977, 82, 299-312

The Rural Settlements in Czechoslovakia

Alois Andrle

The population and housing census 1970 enabled, inter alia, the first exact analysis of the pattern of the rural settlements in Czechoslovakia. (Until 1970, only data relating to communities were available; the communities are, however, solely administrative units involving sometimes even more territorially independent settlements.) According to the census, there were 20 880 settlements in Czechoslovakia in the year 1970 (thereof 283 towns and 20 597 rural settlements). The outstanding feature of the pattern of settlement in Czechoslovakia is a great number of smallest rural settlements; it applies especially to Czech Socialist Republic (CSR, i.e. the western part of Czechoslovakia). The portion of settlements up to 200 inhabitants amounts in CSR to 58,8 % of all rural settlements, whereas in the Slovak Socialist Republic (SSR) only to 39,2 %. The dense network of small rural settlements inherited of the historical development corresponds no more to the contemporary mode of production and brings about a mass commuting to work. In addition, it is impossible to equip such a lot of small localities with necessary up-to-date facilities and amenities. For this reason, the Czechoslovak central authorities have accepted the principles of a new pattern of settlement based on the central places theory; a network of local and provincial centres has been created into which the new capital investments (including necessitated facilities and amenities) are to be concentrated. In the localities up to 200 inhabitans live 12,6 % of the total populatian of the rural settlements (in the CSR 16,5 %, in the SSR 6,3 %). The age structure of Czechoslovak rural settlements is very disadvantageous; the proportion of old people (age group 60 or more years old) amounts to 18,3 % of total population of the rural settlements (in the CSR 20,1 %, in the SSR 15,3 %); this share of old people is the higher the smaller are the settlements. The value of the age index (number of the inhabitants in the age group up to 15 years per 100 inhabitants of the age group 60 or more years old) amounts to 130 (in the CSR average 108, in the localities with less than 400 inhabitants in the CSR it makes less than 100; in the rural settlements of the SSR the index of age is 179). A detailed analysis or the rural settlements in Czechoslovakia (including the socio-economic characteristics and the analysis of the dwelling stock and of the level of housing) has been carried out in the comprehensive study "Analysis and Prognosis of the Housing Situation in the Territories of Czechoslovakia" (Terplan Czechoslovak Institute for Regional Planning, Praha, 1976).