Counting the Americans
Reason #421 Why I'm Not a Statistician

Or even a mathematician. I'm so bad at math. (But not as bad as the guy who was making change for me earlier today, but more on that later).

To everyone who's ever heard that there were 30,000 Americans living in Prague back in the day: It's a lie. The number was picked out of thin air, and I know who did it. So just stop.

Anyway, ČTK reports that the ČSU has new stats on the number of (detectable) foreigners living in the Czech Republic.

By the end of March, 249,464 foreigners lived in the Czech Republic, with 82,415 foreigners staying there permanently and the remaining 167,049 with visas for over 90 days stays.


The five largest minorities living in the Czech Republic have not changed since 1996, according to the Czech Statistical Office [or ČSU as it's know to its friends]. "In individual years, only Slovakia and Ukraine alternate at the top, while Vietnam and Poland occupy the third and fourth positions," the statisticians said [in unison, presumably].

So you've got
249,464 foreigners, of which
66,109 are Slovaks,
65,647 are Ukrainians
30,400 are Vietnamese
16,939 are Poles
12,846 are Russians.

So the Russians are the smallest of the largest. (This is ČTK of course, so they might have the story wrong.) But assuming the article and the stats are right, the remaining 57,523 includes people from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, etc, etc, the UK, and the US.

If any other group came close to the Russians, it stands to reason ČSU would note it. But let's assume arbitrarily that the next largest group is 10,000. I think many of us would assume that there are more Americans than there are, say, Belgians -- or Britons, Canadians, or Germans, etc. (If you disagree, I'm all ears.)

So if those 10,000 were Americans, let's get really crazy and divvy up the rest of the 47,000 or so like this: 9,000 Canadians, 8,000 Britons, 7,000 Germans, 6,000 French, 5,000 Belgians, 4,000 Swedes, 3,000 Norse ... people, 2,000 Finns, 1,000 Italians, and 1,000 each from Spain and Portugal. Of course, that can't be right because it doesn't count Africa, Asia or South America.

So while it's virtually impossible for there to be more than 10,000 Americans, that number is probably high. How high? I'm squishing the numbers around, but I think it's highly unlikely that there are more than 8,000 documented US citizens in the Czech Republic.

Read the ČTK story, do your own math and let me know what you think.

Oh yeah -- the guy who was really bad at math: Okay, so I get my hair cut and buy some expensive pomade -- I'm a Dapper Dan man -- and my bill is CZK 760. I tell the dude at the register to make it CZK 800. (How much are you supposed to tip a stylist anyway?) He gives me CZK 350 in change. For extra credit, tell me how long I should have tried to explain his error to him. (In the end, I gave up and just paid CZK 760.)


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Douglas said...

I think the US Consulate keeps tabs on the number of Americans, and a few years ago I seem to recall a number something around 2,500.

But if you were to count tourists at any given moment, then I could see the number being considerably higher. Then again, the number of German or Austrian tourists would be sky-high.

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey theo, forgot that this is people with an actual green card or a visa?

At 2:02 AM, Blogger Scott said...

There's a much better way to do this.

Everybody who's American, raise your hand!

So far we have three.

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