|40 - 60 million (est.)|
|Regions with significant populations|
The Polish people, or Poles (Polish: Polacy [pɔˈlat͡sɨ], singular Polak), are a Western Slavic ethnic group of Central Europe, living predominantly in Poland. Poles are sometimes defined as people who share a common Polish culture and are of Polish descent. Their religion is predominantly Roman Catholic. The Poles can also be referred to as the inhabitants of Poland and Polish emigrants irrespective of their ethnicity. A wide-ranging Polish diaspora exists throughout Western and Eastern Europe, the Americas and Australia.
There is no commonly accepted definition of the Polish people. According to the preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the Polish nation consists of all citizens of Poland. However, as in most European countries, many people limit the group to native speakers of the Polish language, people who share certain traditions, or people who share a common ethnic background originating from Poland. As to its origins, the name of the nation comes from the indoeuropean root pele; pole . Poles belong to the Lechitic subgroup of these ethnic people. The Polans of Giecz, Gniezno, and Poznań were one of the most influential tribes of Greater Poland and managed to unite many other West Slavic tribes in the area under the rule of what became the Piast dynasty, thus giving birth to a new state. The Polish word for a Polish person is Polak (masculine) and Polka (feminine); however, when the masculine form of this common noun is used in the English language (usually spelled as Polack) it is always offensive. The feminine form typically refers in English to the style of music (i.e. Polka).
Polish people are the sixth largest national group in Europe. Estimates vary depending on source, though available data suggest a total number of around 60 million people worldwide (with roughly 21 million living outside of Poland, many of whom are not of Polish ethnicity, but Polish nationals). There are almost 39 million Poles in Poland alone. There are also Polish minorities in the surrounding countries including Germany, and indigenous minorities in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belarus. There are some smaller indigenous minorities in nearby countries such as Moldova and Latvia. There is also a Polish minority in Russia which includes indigenous Poles as well as those forcibly deported during and after World War II; the total number of Poles in what was the former Soviet Union is estimated at up to 3 million.
The term "Polonia" is usually used in Poland to refer to people of Polish origin who live outside Polish borders, officially estimated at around 10 to 20 million. There is a notable Polish diaspora in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. France has a historic relationship with Poland and has a relatively large Polish-descendant population. Poles have lived in France since the 1700s. In the early 20th century, over a million Polish people settled in France, mostly during world wars, among them Polish émigrés fleeing either Nazi occupation or later Soviet rule.
In the United States a significant number of Polish immigrants settled in Chicago, Ohio, Detroit, New York City, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and New England. The highest concentration of Poles in the United States is in New Britain, Connecticut. The majority of Polish Canadians have arrived in Canada since World War II. The number of Polish immigrants increased between 1945 and 1970, and again after the fall of Communism in 1989. In Brazil the majority of Polish immigrants settled in Paraná State. The city of Curitiba has the second largest Polish diaspora in the world (after Chicago) and Polish music, dishes and culture are quite common in the region. In recent years, since joining the European Union, many Polish people have emigrated to countries such as Ireland, where an estimated 200,000 Polish people have entered the labour market. It is estimated that over half a million Polish people have immigrated to the United Kingdom. The Polish community in Norway has increased dramatically and has grown to a total number of 120,000, making Polish people the largest immigrant group in Norway.
Before World War II many Polish Jews became followers of Zionism and subsequently emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine. Following the Holocaust, the vast majority of surviving Polish Jews moved to Israel, contributing to the largest single place of origin of Israeli Jews.
The following is a list of Polish tribes – tribes which constituted the lands of Poland in the Early Middle Ages, at the beginning of the Polish state. Some of them have remained separate ethnicities while others have been assimilated into the culture of Poland.
A survey carried out by the CBOS public opinion institute, between March 30 and April 2, 2007, found that 86% of Poles felt that EU membership has had a positive effect, with only 5% of the respondents speaking against it, down from 22 percent in 2004. The institute also found that 55% of those surveyed prefer the EU to remain a union of sovereign states, while 22% supported the idea of a "United States of Europe". Principal areas of Polish life that have been improved by EU membership, are agriculture (according to 75% of those surveyed), the environment (61%), productivity (57%) and unemployment (56%).
Among the ten new EU members, of which eight are Central or Eastern European, Poles are the most mobile, with considerable numbers of Polish migrants found in almost all ‘old’ EU countries, filling numerous vacancies on the European labour market, especially in areas where indigenous workforce is insufficient. According to Franck Duvell of Oxford, some countries, like Germany and Austria, missed on that opportunity by discriminating against mobile Europeans, granting them freedom of movement without freedom of employment, which resulted in the increase of numbers of illegal migrant workers there. “In fact, the EU accession process, and namely the Polish experience could possibly serve as a paradigm for easing some of Europe’s migration dilemma,” Duvell suggested.
| Some well-known Poles and people with Polish roots.|
Top: Marie Curie - Skłodowska, Pope John Paul II, Nicolaus Copernicus, Lech Wałęsa, Conrad.
Middle: Gretzky, Jan III Sobieski, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Rejewski, Wajda, Kolbe.
Bottom: Józef Piłsudski, Lem, Brzeziński, Warner, Wielicki, Wolszczan.
60 million (est.)
|Regions with significant populations||
Predominantly Roman Catholicism with Orthodox, Protestant, Atheist and Jewish minorities.
The Polish people, or Poles (Polish: Polacy, singular Polak) as a nation, they are bounded by the Polish language, which belongs to the Lechitic subgroup of west slavic languages of Central Europe, living mainly in Poland. Their religion is mainly Roman Catholic. They use modified Latin alphabet. There are about 50-60 million of Poles on all the world.