Facts about Czech Republic

World Facts Index > Czech Republic > Prague

Czech RepublicFollowing the First World War, the closely related Czechs and Slovaks of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire merged to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar years, the new country's leaders were frequently preoccupied with meeting the demands of other ethnic minorities within the republic, most notably the Sudeten Germans and the Ruthenians (Ukrainians). After World War II, a truncated Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist party rule and create "socialism with a human face." Anti-Soviet demonstrations the following year ushered in a period of harsh repression. With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution." On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

Geography of the Czech Republic

Location:
Central Europe, southeast of Germany
Coordinates:
49 45 N, 15 30 E
Area:
total: 78,866 sq km
water: 1,590 sq km
land: 77,276 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries:
total: 1,881 km
border countries: Austria 362 km, Germany 646 km, Poland 658 km, Slovakia 215 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Climate:
temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters
Terrain:
Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Elbe River 115 m
highest point: Snezka 1,602 m
Natural resources:
hard coal, soft coal, kaolin, clay, graphite, timber
Natural hazards:
flooding
Environment - current issues:
air and water pollution in areas of northwest Bohemia and in northern Moravia around Ostrava present health risks; acid rain damaging forests; efforts to bring industry up to EU code should improve domestic pollution
Geography - note:
landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe

Population of the Czech Republic

Population:
10,220,911 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.4% (male 755,098/female 714,703)
15-64 years: 71.2% (male 3,656,021/female 3,629,036)
65 years and over: 14.5% (male 576,264/female 904,333)
Median age:
39.3 years
Growth rate:
-0.06%
Infant mortality:
3.89 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.22 years
male: 72.94 years
female: 79.69 years
Total fertility rate:
1.21 children born/woman
Nationality:
noun: Czech(s)
adjective: Czech
Ethnic groups:
Czech 90.4%, Moravian 3.7%, Slovak 1.9%, other 4%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%, unaffiliated 59%
Languages:
Czech
Literacy:
99.9%

Government

Country name:
local form: Ceska Republika
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Prague
Administrative divisions:
13 regions (kraje, singular - kraj) and 1 capital city* (hlavni mesto); Jihocesky Kraj, Jihomoravsky Kraj, Karlovarsky Kraj, Kralovehradecky Kraj, Liberecky Kraj, Moravskoslezsky Kraj, Olomoucky Kraj, Pardubicky Kraj, Plzensky Kraj, Praha*, Stredocesky Kraj, Ustecky Kraj, Vysocina, Zlinsky Kraj
Independence:
1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)
National holiday:
Czech Founding Day, 28 October (1918)
Constitution:
ratified 16 December 1992; effective 1 January 1993
Legal system:
civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; legal code modified to bring it in line with Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) obligations and to expunge Marxist-Leninist legal theory
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vaclav KLAUS (since 7 March 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister Mirek TOPOLANEK (since 9 January 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers Petr NECAS (since 9 January 2007), Martin BURSIK (since 9 January 2007), and Alexandr VONDRA (since 9 January 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last successful election held 15 February 2008 (after earlier elections held 8 and 9 February 2008 were inconclusive; next election to be held in February 2013); prime minister appointed by the president
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate or Senat (81 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Poslanecka Snemovna (200 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Constitutional Court; chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for a 10-year term

Economy

The Czech Republic is one of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. Growth in 2000-07 was supported by exports to the EU, primarily to Germany, and a strong recovery of foreign and domestic investment. Domestic demand is playing an ever more important role in underpinning growth as the availability of credit cards and mortgages increases. The current account deficit has declined to around 3.3% of GDP as demand for automotive and other products from the Czech Republic remains strong in the European Union. Rising inflation from higher food and energy prices are a risk to balanced economic growth. Significant increases in social spending in the run-up to June 2006 elections prevented, the government from meeting its goal of reducing its budget deficit to 3% of GDP in 2007. Negotiations on pension and additional healthcare reforms are continuing without clear prospects for agreement and implementation. Intensified restructuring among large enterprises, improvements in the financial sector, and effective use of available EU funds should strengthen output growth. The pro-business Civic Democratic Party-led government approved reforms in 2007 designed to cut spending on some social welfare benefits and reform the tax system with the aim of eventually reducing the budget deficit to 2.3% of GDP by 2010. Parliamentary approval for any additional reforms could prove difficult, however, because of the parliament's even split. The government withdrew a 2010 target date for euro adoption and instead aims to meet the eurozone criteria around 2012.

GDP:
$251 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
6%
GDP per capita:
$24,500
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.4%
industry: 39.3%
services: 57.3%
Inflation rate:
1.9%
Labor force:
5.27 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 38%
services: 58%
Unemployment:
8.9%
Budget:
revenues: $48.16 billion
expenditures: $53.04 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 76.1%
hydro: 2.9%
other: 1% 
nuclear: 20%
Industries:
metallurgy, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, glass, armaments
Agriculture:
wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, poultry
Exports:
machinery and transport equipment 52%, chemicals 5%, raw materials and fuel 9%
Export partners:
Germany 33.5%, Slovakia 8.7%, Austria 5.5%, Poland 5.5%, France 5.3%, UK 4.6%, Italy 4.3%
Imports:
machinery and transport equipment 46%, raw materials and fuels 15%, chemicals 10%
Import partners:
Germany 30%, Russia 5.7%, Slovakia 5.4%, China 5.1%, Poland 5%, Italy 4.8%, France 4.5%, Netherlands 4%
Currency:
Czech koruna (CZK)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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