Poland Demographics 2006
Central European state. The reduction in the rate of population growth and migratory phenomena brought the Polish population to around 38.5 million in 2006. (estimates Central Statistical Office). The birth rate, which has been declining since the second half of the 1980s, has reached levels close to 9.8 ‰ (2006), a value very similar to the mortality rate. However, starting in 2002, the natural balance is, albeit slightly, negative. The age structure of the population is affected by the boom in births recorded at the turn of the seventies and eighties; however, its evolution shows signs of alignment with the dynamics that mark the countries of Western Europe, as demonstrated by the increase in the average age of the population (37 years in 2006). As regards migratory flows, it should be emphasized that, while between the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, those outgoing far exceeded the few returns, in the following decade the return migrations compensated to a greater extent the persistent ones. expatriates (which currently, according to official estimates, are just over 20,000 annual units). On the internal displacement side, it is noted that the urbanization process, which was very significant in the last decades of the twentieth century, actually came to a halt starting in 1999, when the total urban population reached its peak of 23.7 million. residents, and then dropped to 23.4 million in 2005. Nevertheless, compared to an extension of rural areas equal to just over 90 % of the total surface, the population living in urban areas is in any case greater than 60 % and is distributed in a fairly balanced manner in the main metropolitan areas, including that of Katowice (about 4 million), Warsaw (1.7 million in the city, 2.5 million in the metropolitan area), Gdansk and Poznań (both with about 1.5 million).
Despite the improvements recorded, some problems relating to the transport system remain unsolved which place the Poland, from this point of view, still far from the standards of the more developed countries of Europe. As regards the road network, at the basis of these shortcomings there is an insufficient level of investments, inadequate maintenance, in the face of an increase in vehicular traffic, which creates problems of congestion of the great arteries especially in correspondence with the main urban centers. The railway system also presents, on the whole, problems of age, relative to both the infrastructures and the rolling stock, with negative repercussions on the service levels offered. Furthermore, it should be noted the absence of fast connections between the major cities and inadequacy of urban public transport services. Air traffic, which uses Warsaw International Airport and eleven other minor airports, has doubled in the last five years (11.5 million passengers in 2005), still appears lower than that generated by other Central-Eastern European countries. Finally, access to the port is still problematic, both from the sea side and from the hinterland.
On the international level, the most important events that have marked the recent history of Poland are represented by the country’s entry into NATO (1999) and the European Union (2004). Beyond the political significance, the latter event also gave considerable growth to the country’s economy which, in the same year, saw its GDP jump forward by 5.3 % and, in 2005, increase by 3, 2 %. In fact, the processes of liberalization of the economy, undertaken since the 1990s, had already given impetus to a strong privatization program of state-owned enterprises in the industrial, telecommunications and credit sectors. Also for the energy sector (for over 90 % linked to coal mining) a phase of privatization and technological adaptation is foreseen which, among other things, should contribute to further reducing pollution levels, particularly high especially in the industrial region of Silesia. Currently the main manufacturing productions concern the clothing and textile sectors, mechanics, automobiles, steel products. Despite economic growth, per capita income remains modest (around 50 % of the EU- 25 average) and the unemployment rate high (around 18 % in 2005), whose impact is partly mitigated by the presence of an underground economy which, according to some estimates by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, would absorb about one third of the unemployed. Furthermore, socio-economic indicators outline a picture marked by significant territorial and social imbalances. A significant gap, in fact, still separates the more developed regions (including, in the first place, the voivodeship comprising the metropolitan area of Warsaw and those of the central-western section of the country) from the poorer ones on the eastern border. This gap is attributable both to the rapid growth that has been concentrated in a few regions, and to the problems of reconversion of obsolete industrial structures and the failure to trigger local development processes in historically marginal rural areas.12 % in 2003, almost three times the value of 1996).
At the same time, the government is engaged in a process of fiscal consolidation, also aimed at adjusting to the Maastricht parameters, which makes it particularly difficult to address welfare problems with further recourse to public resources. However, the substantial European funds, of which Poland will be the main beneficiary (80.5 billion euros in the period 2007 – 2013), will play an important role in the future development of the country. In this regard, the government has prepared a national plan which aims above all at strengthening the competitiveness of enterprises, at investments in the crucial sectors of infrastructures, at structural transformations in the primary sector, at the qualification of human capital and at the increase of employment, reduction of regional gaps with particular regard to rural areas. The effects of Poland’s recent entry into the EU include an increase in exports of agri-food products and an expansion of the financial market. At the same time, the international projection of the Polish economy is strengthened, as evidenced by exports to the EU market and to Eastern European countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus),
According to thedresswizard, the development of tourism contributes not a little to the consolidation of the positive image of the country which, after the strong expansion of the second half of the nineties and a stalemate in the early 2000s, appears to be recovering (almost 62 million foreign arrivals in 2004). Among the elements of attraction, a very rich endowment of areas of significant naturalistic and environmental value, which includes high mountain areas and forests, suggestive coasts, the presence of rare flora and fauna species, all articulated in a system composed of 23 national parks and about 100natural reserves. No less important for visitors is the remarkable urban, historical and architectural heritage, concentrated above all in the cities of Krakow, Warsaw, Toruń and Zamość (four of the eleven Polish places recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites). The capital, razed to the ground during the Second World War, represents a happily successful example of faithful reconstruction of the historic center, combined with the modern architecture of the most recent urban expansion.