Remember, when you guys were filling out a Ivana’s questionnaire in order for her to complete her Master’s thesis on Czech-Americans? Well, the results are here! Ivana did a great job and since it is quite a long and meaty essay I cut it up into parts (I did not want our brains to explode):
CZ: Pamatujete is lidicky, jak jste pred nedavnem vyplnovali Ivanin dotaznik? Iva ho totiz potrebovala k dokonceni sve diplomky, zabivajici se tematem dnesich Cecho-Americanu. Moc se ji esej povedla, ale jelikoz je to kusanec poradne prace, rozdelila jsem to na casti, aby se nam z tech informaci neprevarily mozky:
21st century – the Czech-Americans questionnaire survey
by Ivana Stavarova
Following the time line this chapter describes the lives of Czech-Americans in the 21st century. There are very little sources concentrating on this particular group of people now when borders are open and there does not exist any severe political, religious or social pressures that stand as push factors, especially any factors serious enough to push the citizens of an independent, free, and relatively prosperous Czech Republic to move to the USA and seek better lives there. However there are thousands of people throughout the United States who consider themselves Czech-Americans or Czechoslovak-Americans. These are either the descendants of mostly 19th and early 20th century immigrants who for generations kept the cultural awareness of their Czech origin alive in their families, or are the descendants of political refugees of the 20th century, if not political refugees themselves. Their total number is not known, but what is known though is that tens of thousands of them actively participate in Czech-American social life even nowadays, throughout every one of the 50 American states.
With little source material to utilize, there exists no other possible way of finding about the 21st century Czech-Americans than by asking them directly. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides on their web page a list of official Czech organizations, associations and clubs functioning now in the USA. I have contacted these organizations asking them in my letter for help with my survey, and have received very positive responses to my request. The pleasant cooperation with these organizations brought me, in the end, a broad sample of 159 completed questionnaires by Czech-Americans from 22 American states.
The results of this survey cannot be, in respect to the estimated total numbers of Czechs or Czech-Americans living in the USA, considered as a revealing and total sample. However, the results give a prolific image of today’s, modern Czech-American life and a good view of the assimilation and cultural retention and connections that persevere among Czech immigrants and their descendants.
In sum 159 Czech-Americans coming from 22 American states participated in this survey. More than half, 86, were women, while 70 were men and 3 did not state their sex. The range of their age was very broad, the respondents ranged in age between 21-90 years old, the average age of respondent was 62.
1. The first question of the questionnaire concerned what generation Czech-American they were. The majority of them were first(40 people), second (40 p.) or third generation (40 people) Czechs living in the USA, although a relevant number were also fourth generation respondents, with some fifth and sixth generation Czech-Americans present within the sample as well.
2. The reasons why they or their ancestors left the Czech Republic was the concern of the second question. It very much corresponded with the historical situation in Central Europe of the time, however every single decision to emigrate is always dimmed with personal reasons and therefore this data will not be further analyzed.
3. The third question asked about the interest the respondent had concerning current events in the Czech Republic, and locating the particular channel of information, whether by newspaper, online source or other medium, that these respondents used to keep in touch with events in the Czech Republic. 75 respondents claimed an interest without specifying a specific source, while 71 reveal their interest in the Czech Republic and refer to online sources, 2 responded that they stay informed from their local papers (in their cases California and Nebraska local papers). One respondent returned to the Czech Republic after the end of the Communist era and again became a permanent resident. Only 9 respondents stated they do not intentionally search for news from the Czech Republic and 1 did not answer.