Rudé Pravo, Housing
Rudé Pravo was the Czechoslovak equivalent of the Soviet newspaper Pravda. Both were the official daily news publications of their respective Communist governments; both depicted the official version of truth about current events and conditions. Rudé Pravo had a daily circulation of over one million, a fact attributable not to its popularity but rather to the reality that it was the official daily newspaper in a system that aimed to control the dissemination of information (it is said that few people really read it).
The following document is a Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) summary of a Rudé Pravo report on the housing situation in Czechoslovakia. FBIS was a non-covert information unit of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that collected, translated, and disseminated open news from foreign information sources (it still exists and with these functions, but it 2005 it was placed under the Director of National Intelligence). This document provides a view into an important aspect of everyday life for millions of Eastern Europeans.
This source is a part of the Everyday Life in Eastern Europe in the 1980s teaching module.
Rudé Pravo, Housing
[Summary] A survey of household incomes and the standard and cost of housing was carried out in 2
percent of all households in the CSSR last year. The results of this microcensus, which surveyed the
situation in 1986, confirm that the standard of housing continues to improve, even though the shortage of
apartments lingers on. Both the average size of apartments and the average number of rooms per
apartment have increased since the 1980 census. Whereas in 1970 only 1 in 12 apartments had 4 rooms or
more, in 1986 this was true of every sixth apartment. The changes in quality are even more pronounced.
Some 83 percent of all apartments had a bathroom or a shower and a lavatory in 1986; only 1 in 15
apartments was either without a bathroom or without a lavatory, and only 1 in 10 apartments had neither.
The proportion of poorlyequipped apartments in Slovakia continues to be higher but the disparity is
diminishing, in view of the greater volume of new housing construction in Slovakia. According to the
results of the microcensus, each person inhabited an average of 15 square meters of floor space in 1986,
and there was an average of 1.15 persons per room. Both figures mark an evident improvement compared
with the situation in 1970. In cooperative apartments, floor space per person averaged 13.1 square meters,
in rented apartments 13.3 square meters, and in apartments in family homes 17.4 square meters. Whereas
more than 70 percent of apartments in newly built family homes have 4 rooms or more, there are only
about 15 percent such apartments in new communal or cooperative housing. Although the data on the
microcensus do not make it possible to quantify the existing shortage of apartments, "the decline in the
number and proportion of apartments inhabited by two or more households indicates that the unsatisfied
subjective demand for apartments, which in 1980 was estimated at 320,000 apartments, declined by
between 10 and 15 percent. However, exact data will be available only following the population and
housing census planned for 1990.
Source: "Results of Housing 'Microcensus' Assessed," September 22, 1988, Rudé Pravo, trans. Foreign
Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).
"Results of Housing 'Microcensus' Assessed," September 22, 1988, Rudé Pravo, trans. Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).