Poland Travel Guide
Demographics of Poland
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Kraków, Main Market Square
Poland, with 38,116,000 inhabitants, has the eighth-largest population in Europe and the sixth-largest in the European Union. It has a population density of 122 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Poland historically contained many languages, cultures and religions on its soil. The country had a particularly large Jewish population prior to World War II, when the Nazi Holocaust caused Poland's Jewish population, estimated at 3 million before the war, to drop to just 300,000. The outcome of the war, particularly the westward shift of Poland's borders to the area between the Curzon Line and the Oder-Neisse line, coupled with post-war expulsion of minorities, significantly reduced the country's ethnic diversity. According to the 2002 census, 36,983,700 people, or 96.74% of the population, consider themselves Polish, while 471,500 (1.23%) declared another nationality, and 774,900 (2.03%) did not declare any nationality. The largest minority nationalities and ethnic groups in Poland are Silesians, Germans, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Russians, Roma, Jews, Lemkos, Slovaks, Czechs, and Tatars. Among foreign citizens, the Vietnamese are the largest ethnic group, followed by Greeks and Armenians.
The Polish language, a member of the West Slavic branch of the Slavic languages, functions as the official language of Poland. Until recent decades Russian was commonly learned as a second language, but now has been replaced by English and German as the most common second languages studied and spoken.
In recent years, Poland's population has decreased because of an increase in emigration and a sharp drop in the birth rate. Since Poland's accession to the European Union, a significant number of Poles have emigrated to Western European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland in search of work. Some organizations have stated that Polish emigration is primarily due to Poland's high unemployment rate (10.5% in 2007), with Poles searching for better work opportunities abroad. In April 2007, the Polish population of the United Kingdom had risen to approximately 300,000 and estimates place the Polish population in Ireland at 65,000. Some sources claim that the number of Polish citizens who emigrated to the UK after 2004 is as high as 2 million. This, however, is contrasted by a recent trend that shows that more Poles are leaving the country than coming in.
Polish minorities are still present in the neighboring countries of Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, as well as in other countries. Altogether, the number of ethnic Poles living abroad is estimated to be around 20 million. The largest number of Poles outside of Poland can be found in the United States.
The largest metropolitan areas lies in Poland are the Silesian metropolitan area centred on Katowice and other cities of Upper Silesian Coal Basin (over 5 million inhabitants: ~4 million in Poland, ~1 million in Czech Republic); the capital, Warsaw (~3 million); Kraków (~1.3 million), Łódź (~1.2 million); the Tricity of Gdańsk-Sopot-Gdynia, Poznań and Wrocław (each about 1 million). The largest urban area is Katowice urban area (~2,7 million inhabitants). For an overview of Polish cities, see List of cities and towns in Poland.
Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia
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