Prague is growing older

The city is starting to plan for shifting demographics

Prague is facing an aging of the population, which can be seen in the rising average age and the overall higher number of older people.

The city must prepare for further increases in the average age in the future, City Hall said on its website. Compared to 2014, when the average age was 42 years, it will average 43.9 in 2050, and the population over 80 years old will increase in particular. It is necessary to adapt public services and the physical form of the city, according to officials.

“By increasing the proportion of older people, both the capacity and required quality of social and health services will have to increase. Public transport, cultural facilities and shopping will have to change. For people of retirement age and older with mobility restrictions, barrier-free apartments will be necessary. Prague has to respond to this age-old trend,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Green) said.

The aging of the city, though, is slowed by migration. People moving to Prague are mostly in the age group of 20 to 39 years of age, while those leaving the city are mostly over 50. This makes a significant contribution to the city's demographics.

Kolínská said it was important for planning decisions to address the concept of a fairly shared city.

“It helps to keep an eye on details such as high-quality public lighting or smart design of urban furniture. Benches must be designed to suit seniors as well,” Kolínská said.

The data on aging comes from a statistics compiled by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR). The data is available to everyone online. “Territorial analytical data are a source of valuable information for urban planners, political representatives and building authorities, but also for every layperson interested in city information,” Kolinska said.

An aging population is not only an issue for Prague. People aged 60 and older make up 12.3 percent of the global population, and by 2050, that number will rise to almost 22 percent, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

People are living longer because of better nutrition, sanitation, health care, education and economic well-being. The UNFPA encourages countries to plan in advance for the population shifts.

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