The article evaluates housing satisfaction and its development in the Czech Republic after 2000. Its goal is to help better understand the processes behind this phenomenon by identifying factors that influence how the level of housing satisfaction varies between population groups. In a comparative perspective on cross-sectional data from 2001 and 2013, the authors present the main findings of two waves of a quantitative sociological survey.
The article draws on two comparable datasets stemming from a nationwide sociological survey of attitudes to housing issues implemented in the Czech Republic as “Housing Attitudes 2001” and “Housing Attitudes 2013”. The analysis was conducted in two stages. In the first stage, pairwise correlation analysis was used to identify variables that are significantly associated with a measure of overall satisfaction with one’s current housing situation. In the second stage, multiple linear regression was used to test the significance of these variables. The goal was to find factors that independently predict the respondent’s overall housing satisfaction when controlling for other variables included in the regression model.
Overall housing satisfaction among Czech citizens increased over the 2001–2013 time period. What remains is that the highest levels of satisfaction are exhibited by people in owner-occupied houses and the lowest by those living in rented flats (whether privately or from local authorities) in large-scale projects. In addition to tenure and type of dwelling, the key factors of overall satisfaction include perceived size of dwelling compared to number of cohabitants. Other factors include socioeconomic characteristics reflecting respondent’s status in the social structure – primarily household income and secondarily respondent’s economic status (unemployment).
The category of people living in flats was examined separately. Whereas people living in large-panel system (LPS) buildings were less satisfied with their housing situation than those living in brick houses in 2001, the difference was no longer discernible in 2013. The increased attractiveness of LPS housing may be a result of remodelling and reconstruction over the time period of interest.
There are also spatial differences in overall housing satisfaction. People from major cities are less satisfied with their housing situation than those living in smaller settlements. This variation is primarily caused by differences in the composition of the dwelling stock and overall characteristics of housing. A specific situation exists in the smallest municipalities with a population under 1000 where the lower levels of housing satisfaction are probablyassociated with lower access to and variety of local amenities.
Finally, albeit overall housing satisfaction among Czechs grew on average over the time period studied, the social inequalities in overall housing satisfaction did not diminish. Especially people of lower social status and belonging to the “lower housing class” are less satisfied than the rest of the population.