Poland belongs to averagely populated countries, although territorial conditions are conducive to settlements and development. Most of Poland’s territory is lowland, there are a lot of agriculture lands that favour food production. Actually, a birth rate has been declining for many years as the result of changes within socio-political structure and constantly deteriorating living conditions in Poland. Young couples deal with unemployment, the lack of incomes and place for living, thus they do not decide to have a baby. Besides, since World War II a traditional family model have seemed to fall apart and now is based on a family model 2+1. It also means continuous decreasing of population. The first minor birth rate was noticed in 2008.
Structure of population
Figures indicate that between 2008-2010 the number of inhabitants in Poland increased but it does not corresponds with a birth rate. Changes of Polish policy with noticeable expansion of cooperation with Europe encourage a lot foreigners to come to Poland, both from Western and Eastern neighbouring countries. In 2008, the population of Poland was estimated at 38 135 876 and in 2009 this number increased by 31 456. Once again 36 thousand inhabitants have come to Poland until 2010, but it does not mean so many people were born. A population density is on average level and amounts to 122 people/km². According to figures for 2010, the population number is estimated at 38 135 thousand inhabitants. For that Poland is ranked 32nd in the world and 6th in EU. Proportions between populations living in the countryside and populations of living in urban places lean toward the second group. More and more young people decide to move to the city and make a career. The population density of cities exceeds 100% of the rural population. The highest population growth is noticed in northern provinces of Poland. A significant drop occurred in Łódzkie, Śląskie and Opolskie Provinces.
As in many other countries, a lot of foreigners live in Poland. Because of historical background Germans are the largest minority in Poland, constituting more than 150 thousand citizens. Emigrants from Eastern countries constitute smaller groups: Belorussians – 50 thousand and Ukrainians – 30 thousand. Besides, Poland is inhabited by Romani people, Russians, Lemkos and Lithuanians. Foreign nationalities come along with foreign languages. Apart from official Polish language, in some regions one can hear Kashubian, Rusyn, Ukrainian, Belorussian and some Polish dialects such as Silesian and Kurpie.
Gender and age
Proportions of women and men are quite similar and they differ from each other merely by 4%. In general, there are 107 women per 100 men but those differences increase according to particular age groups. It arises due to shorter average man’s lifetime. Thus in age group above 60 years there are 165 women per 100 men. Alarming is the increase of an average age of Poles in general. An average age of Polish citizen in 2000 was estimated at 35,4 years and in 2007 this value increased to 37,3 years. This situation is a natural consequence of so-called birth depression that occurred in 1990’. Children constitute merely 16,5% of the entire population, whereas in 1990 this value was estimated at 29%. The number of pensioners also increased. From 13 to 16,5%.
58,6% of the entire Polish population constitutes the working age population, children and young people make up 27,6% of the population, and the rest 18,8% are people of retirement age. Approximately 25% of employed people work in the industry. 27% of the population is employed in agriculture. A positive phenomenon is for certainty the increase of people working in the service industries. They constitute around 70% of all people employed. Only 7% of Poles have completed higher education. Approximately 30% – secondary education, 2,6% – post-secondary education, 26% – vocational education, 34% – primary education. 6% have not graduated from elementary school. The unemployment rate is reported at 11%. Primary obstacles to find a job are: poor professional qualifications, exceeding the age of 40-45, limited professional and spatial mobility, personal passivity, the lack of material and nonmaterial sources essential to undertake work activities, opportunities to run business in so-called an economic grey zone.