A generation divided: the so-called Husák children are the most influential demographic in the Czech Republic

Martin Boschek |  Photo: Michaela Danilova, Radio Czech

There are many and they are at the peak of their productive lives. As a result, the Husákovy děti, that is, the so-called Husák children, have a special influence on what is happening in the Czech Republic. Martin Buchtik, president of the STEAM Institute for Opinion Research, can put this into more accurate numbers:

“The interesting thing about this generation is that it is very strong numerically. It may not seem like it, but there are 190,000 people between the ages of 43 and 44 living in this country. In contrast, there are only 90,000 out of 22 or 23 years old. The children of the Hosak were, are, and will continue to be highly visible. They are strongly represented in culture, for example, but also in politics and business.”

Gustav Husak |  Photo: Post Bellum

Gustav Husak served as General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee from 1969 to 1987 and President of Czechoslovakia from 1975 to 1989. In the early years of his term, special social policies were introduced aimed at raising the birth rate in the country. For example, maternity and child benefits have been increased, maternity leave extended and parental leave introduced. Soon this had the desired effect: in the first half of the 1970s, an average of about 40,000 babies were born each year compared to the previous decade.

Not a scientifically recognized term

In common parlance today, people born in the early 1980s still refer to themselves as Hispanic children. After all, his tenure lasted through this decade. However, science limits this generation much more in terms of time. Historian Jakub Rakosnik of the Institute of Economic and Social History at Charles University in Prague does not want to be named after the KPTsch official either:

Jacob Rakusnik |  Photo: Czech Radio

“Child husack is not a precisely coined term. It is not used in science because it serves a somewhat arbitrary mission. The generation in question can be more accurately identified in the years 1970 and 1971 on the one hand and 1975 to 1977 on the other. The birth wave peaked in 1974 Then it weakened again.

In 1974, more than 194,000 children were born in the Czech part of the CSSR. There haven’t been many births here since 1948.

shop named

Even if they are closely categorized at about seven years of age, the children of Hispanics do not constitute a unified social group as one might expect. They still spend their childhood years under conditions identical to the so-called normalization. However, 1989 was crucial to her path into adulthood. The social changes that came with the end of socialism were particularly evident within this generation, says Rakosnik:

People born in 1970 often marry early and start a family at the age of 20. On the other hand, the children of the subsequent Hosaks did not grow up until the 1990s, and later on the formation of a family became the norm for them. The demographic curve of the Czech society shows that there was a decrease in the population at that time.”

Age pyramid of the Czech Republic (2007).  The largest group, aged between 30 and 35, are the so-called Husak children Source: Czech Statistical Office, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

The reason for this is the openness of society and the economy. Suddenly, according to the historian, young people had many alternatives for their lives:

“After the demographic decline, the so-called Havel children, there was a new surge in births between 2006 and 2008. These are the sons of the Hausa girls. If socialism had not ended, these women would have raised their children in the 1990s. But they put off starting a family at that time, and about In 2008 they faced the choice of having a child now or not at all.”

The last generation with common pop culture

It wasn’t just the start of a family that was heavily influenced by the stage in which the Hosak children lived through the Velvet Revolution. This has also played a role in various fields of education, as sociologist Bochtik explains:

Caption: Polina Tankilevich, Pexels, CC0

“There are a number of important things associated with the question of whether someone was 10 or 20 years old at the time of the revolution – for example, how well a person spoke English. This is not very common in the Czech Republic itself. Usually a person has A 40 or 42 year old has basic knowledge. But only 30 percent of them have a good standard. Among 50-year-olds, only 15 percent speak English well. The deciding factor here is whether you only learned the language as an adult or at school. Then this also played a major role in the search for a job.”

So 1989 and the following years led to very different professions and, as a result, led to very different living standards. However, this time there was also something connected. The active experience of political turmoil has had a lasting effect on the children of Husack. Bochtik says they have one thing in common:

Caption: Michal Jarmoluk, Pixabay, CC0

“They make up one of the last generations to have a common pop culture. They only had a few bands and three TV shows. So they all watched the same shows in the ’90s that everyone can still quote from. In contrast, today’s younger generation is very fragmented, consumed Much larger amounts of popular culture content. The Hosak children still have a common language in this regard.”

For Jakob Rakosnik, there is not much difference between the generation of children and young adults only. Since Husack, the spatio-temporal dimensions of leisure activities have also changed dramatically, as the historian states:

“Today’s guys have a very different approach to time compared to the Husak kids. I grew up myself in the 80s and spent a lot of time outside. Everywhere in the park there were groups in the lawns – first we played there, then we smoked and drank. That no longer exists today, it disappeared Children and young people are from the gardens. With the advent of computer technology, her life has turned into the private sphere. And they maintain social contacts in a completely different way than was usual for us in the eighties.”

Diligent voters

Pavel Mascarenik |  Photo: ČT24

Family Model, Level of Education, and Leisure Activities – Children of Hisks have experienced fundamental changes in almost every area of ​​private life. According to Pavel Mascarenck, the turning point in 1989 had a strong impact on this generation because it occurred in the formative years of growth. The political scientist from Jan Evangelista Birkeni University in Östi nad Labem explains that this experience also had an impact on political preferences and voting behavior:

This indicates the evolution of voter turnout across generations. Today, first-time voters in their 20s almost never go to the polls. This varies slightly in the age group of 25 and over, and the turnout increases sharply from 35 onwards. People between the ages of 45 and 55 are the strongest group of voters, so a large portion of this generation goes to the polls regularly. As a result, it exerts a significant influence on the elections.”

Image caption: Rene Volvic, Radio Czech

Mascarenek continues that the question of who the Hosak children will vote for is more complex. Because they experienced socialism themselves at a young age, they would not have much sympathy with parties of this orientation. The transition to democracy, which took place in the Czech Republic under a rather conservative auspices, helped to strengthen their political position, according to the political scientist:

“Like other generations, the Children of the Hisaks are not a homogeneous entity. So it cannot be said that they all agree on one political direction. On the other hand, one can point to the fact that a large part of this generation consciously witnessed the fall of communism. Many of them were still They go to school at that time, and some of them were just beginning their studies. Many students also took an active part in the events of 1989. As a result, a large part of this generation still tends to vote for center-right parties today.”

Czech government cabinet |  Photo: Czech Republic government office

Thus, Husákovy děti may have played an important role in the change of government that occurred in the Czech Republic after the last parliamentary elections in the fall of 2021. This distinguished and numerically strong generation does not exercise its influence only through the right to vote. Some of the children of the Hosak even reached the highest political positions. In the current government, at least six out of the 18 members belonged to the powerful generations of the early 1970s.

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