Poland Population and Languages


According to harvardshoes, the current Polish population is of Slavic origin. From a linguistic point of view, the Poles, together with the Czechs and Slovaks, properly represent the Western Slavs. The lack of natural borders to the West and E, making the Polish territory vulnerable to the continuous invasions of ruling peoples, has been at the origin of profound changes in the ethnic composition of the population. In the Middle Ages and in the following centuries numerous Germanic populations migrated to Poland, who colonized a part of the territory and founded cities, the first centers of diffusion of the Germanic language and culture. Since the Middle Ages, sizeable groups of Jews settled mainly in the major cities. In the eastern regions there was a significant number of Lithuanians, White Russians and Ukrainians. Second World War (alloglots, in the interwar period, constituted about one third of the total population), was one of the causes that influenced the historical-political vicissitudes of the country. The period of German occupation (1939-45) was one of the most tragic in Polish history. Human losses for war reasons were estimated at around six million individuals, including soldiers, civilians and above all interned in Nazi concentration camps. The post-war border changes significantly influenced the ethnic composition of the population: more than 3 million Germans and citizens of other ethnic groups were expelled from the western and northern regions, in order to accommodate the more than two million Poles coming from the eastern territories or repatriated from ‘abroad. The new People’s Republic of Poland thus became an ethnically more homogeneous state. As a result of the heavy devastation of the war and post-war mass migrations, the Polish population was reduced to about 24 million residents, compared to 34.5 million in 1937, and only in the second half of the 1970s did it return to pre-war levels..

Foreign minorities are quite small: Germans (4%), Ukrainians (4%), Belarusians (0.5%). A similar compactness can also be noted from the religious point of view: compared to the overwhelming majority of Catholics (90.1%), the Orthodox constitute 0.4% of the population, the surviving Jews are about 1500. In the post-war period, the Poland has experienced a constant increase in population, both for natural and social reasons. The birth rate, already very high in the first half of the 20th century. (37 ‰ in 1911, 25 ‰ in 1938), in the 1950s it was still around 30 ‰, enough to place the town among the first in Europe. During the 1960s there was a sharp decline in births, accompanied by a decrease in mortality (including infants) and a general prolongation of the average life span, especially for women. Since the 1990s, the rate of population growth has decreased considerably, stabilizing at around 0%.

was a country of great emigration, both in the years of foreign domination at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and in the interwar period: it was mainly agricultural labor and miners headed overseas (United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina etc.) or to Western Europe (Germany, France etc.). Emigration, which decreased after the war, was followed by migrations within the country, directed on the one hand to repopulate the western and northern territories abandoned by the Germans, on the other hand to satisfy the needs of reconstruction of the destroyed cities and those of development. industrial. These movements have caused a redistribution of the population between rural and urban areas. The phenomenon of urbanization has been very intense especially since the last postwar period. The urban population (61% in 2008) was equal to one third of the total in 1946 (just over a quarter in 1931) and gradually increased in the following years (in 1966 it exceeded that of the countryside). The network Polish urban area is among the most balanced in Europe and relies on several regional metropolises, which are often also important industrial cities, well distributed in the country: Gdansk to the North, Szczecin to the NW, Poznań and Wroclaw to the W, Krakow and the vast conurbation Upper Silesian which is headed by Katowice in the S, Lublin in the E, Bydgoszcz and above all Łódź (the largest) in the center. The capital, Warsaw, centralizes most of the higher level service functions existing in the country.


Polish is part of the Western group of Slavic languages ​​along with Upper and Lower Serbo-Lusatian, Kashubo, Czech, Slovak and extinct Polish. The Polish dialects are divided into five groups: a) dialects of the Great Poland (in the Middle Ages between the Oder to the West, Pomeranian to the North, the Vistula to the East and the Pilica to the S); b) dialects of Kuyavian and Chełmno-Dobrzyń lands; c) dialects of the Little Poland (including, in the 14th century, between Grande Poland, Silesia, Masovia and Ruthenia); d) Silesian dialects; e) Masovian dialects.

The literary language, founded on the dialects of the Piccola Poland, but later, due to the lack of a political center, which has become remarkably eclectic with respect to the dialects, is documented since the 14th century. from annals, chronicles and songs: Latin and Czech in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance exerted a notable influence on it, and Italian in the 12th century. 16th and 17th, French in the 18th century. and finally German, particularly in the lexicon. The fundamental phonological characteristics that identify the Polish dialects within the Western Slavic group are: the continuation ro lo of the tautosyllabic group or ol which in Russian is continued by gold ol and in Czech, as in the southern languages, by ra la (pol. błoto «swamp» from * bolto, opposite the Russian boloto, Czech bláto), and above all the preservation of the nasalized vowels ą and ę (pol. swięty « holy », opposite the Russian svjatoj, Czech svatý).

Poland Population and Languages

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