‘Significant changes’ to Poland’s ethnic and linguistic composition revealed in new census

The data from Poland’s main statistical office, GUS, shows a considerable increase in English, American, Italian and Irish nationals living in Poland. Albert Zawada/PAP

New data from Poland’s 2021 census has revealed considerable changes in the country’s ethnic and linguistic composition.

The data from Poland’s main statistical office, GUS, shows a significant increase in English, American, Italian and Irish nationals living in Poland.

Those identifying as English or Irish saw their numbers quintupled between 2011 and 2021, however most of them claimed them as a secondary identity.

TFNEnglish nationals rose from 10,500 to almost 49,000 while Irish jumped from 2,100 to 10,000.

A following trend can also be seen in language as English has overtaken Silesian as the most commonly spoken language after Polish, with more than 704,000 speakers, almost seven times more than in 2011.

Silesian saw a decline of almost 100,000 speakers, decreasing to 457,900 while Kashubian, which used to be the third most commonly spoken langauge, saw a decline of about 20,000 speakers and was overtaken by German as the third most commonly used language.

Russian and Ukrainian speakers have also risen, likely as a result of immigration from Ukraine.

TFNOther languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian and Dutch saw a rise in the number of people speaking them at home but not significantly.

According to experts this may reflect the growing migration to Poland from western and southern European countries in recent years.

The study also showed that among the 38 million people in Poland, 97.6 percent declared Polish as their primary or secondary identity.

However, around 1.3 million people declared a different nationality or ethnicity.


There was also a significant decrease in people identifying as Silesians and Kashubians, Poland’s largest indigenous ethnic minorities, despite efforts to encourage members of ethnic minorities to declare their identity in the last census.

According to Małgorzata Myśliwiec, a professor of political science at the University of Silesia in Katowice, the methodology of the new online census played a part in the results as it made it more difficult for people to identify themselves as members of ethnic minorities.

Jews, on the other hand, had more than doubled their numbers but still remained small compared to the number of Jews that lived in Poland before WWII.

Germans remained as the third largest ethnic group in the country while Ukrainians increased to around 79,400, around 30,000 more than in 2011, though that does not include Ukrainian immigrants after the war.

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