The evolving debate on "urban shrinkage" mirrors an increasing interest in demographic phenomena on the part of urban scholars. This paper discusses ambiguous evidence about recent population decline in the large cities of Poland and the Czech Republic, with a particular focus on Łódz and Brno in general and their inner cities more specifically. By applying a mixed-method approach, the paper identifies indications of inner-city repopulation and socio-demographic diversification which are not yet apparent in register or census data. It is argued that there are indications of a silent transformation of traditional residential patterns and neighbourhoods in east central Europe. In the inner cities, this is reflected, amongst other things, by the presence of new households that may be called "transitory urbanites".