New census data reveal changes in Poland’s ethnic and linguistic makeup

New census data reveal changes in Poland’s ethnic and linguistic makeup

The newest launch of data from Poland’s 2021 census exhibits how the nation’s numerous ethnic and nationwide teams have modified in measurement during the last decade. They additionally present that English has turn out to be probably the most generally spoken language in individuals’s houses other than Polish.
Poland’s largest indigenous ethnic minorities – Silesians and Kashubians – have seen their numbers decline considerably, although some activists and specialists declare that it is because the brand new on-line census made it tougher for individuals to pick such identities.
Among Poland’s different conventional ethnic teams, the most important will increase had been recorded by Jews – whose numbers greater than doubled, although stay small – and Ukrainians.
Meanwhile, there have been additionally giant rises in these holding English and Irish as their secondary identities – whose numbers quintupled – maybe on account of returning Polish emigres and their households.

The preliminary and partial new data on identification and language use was launched this week by Statistics Poland (GUS), a state company. It exhibits that amongst Poland’s inhabitants of simply over 38 million individuals, the overwhelming majority, 97.6%, declare Polish as their main (97.4%) or secondary (0.2%) identification.
However, there have been additionally 1.3 million individuals (3.5% of the inhabitants) who declared a special nationality or ethnicity as their main (1.3%) or secondary (2.3%) identification.
Among these, probably the most quite a few had been Silesians (585,700 in complete) and Kashubians (176,900), ethnic teams which are indigenous to Poland’s southwest and north respectively.
Both these numbers have declined considerably for the reason that 2011 census – when there have been 846,700 Silesians and 232,500 Kashubians – regardless of efforts by activists to encourage members of ethnic minorities to declare their identification in the 2021 census.

Activists in Silesia are interesting for individuals in the area to declare Silesian as their identification in this yr’s census (as 847,000 did in 2011) and to say they communicate Silesian.
They hope to spice up the ethnolect’s case for official recognition as a language
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) January 14, 2021

One doable purpose for this, in response to Małgorzata Myśliwiec, a professor of political science on the University of Silesia in Katowice, is that the web system used in 2021 made it more durable for individuals to determine themselves as members of ethnic minorities.
“The undeniable fact that over half one million residents dwelling in Silesia took the difficulty to struggle the census system, discover the best column and enter the best ethnicity is successful of this group that clearly emphasises and manifests its distinctiveness,” Myśliwiec instructed the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
Nicole Ketzler, a resident of the village of Cisek in Silesia, instructed information outlet that, regardless of engaged on a pc daily, she struggled to search out the “Silesian” possibility in the web census kind. “What had been the aged presupposed to do?” she requested.

A recreation present has confronted complaints from considered one of Poland’s ethnic teams, the Kashubs, for describing their language as a dialect
They have demanded that state broadcaster TVP situation a correction informing viewers that Kashubian is a legally recognised language
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) December 28, 2020

The third largest of Poland’s conventional ethnic teams remained Germans, of whom there have been 132,500 in 2021, an analogous determine to 2011.
The quantity figuring out as Ukrainian elevated from 51,000 to 79,400 (although that doesn’t embrace the vast majority of the million or so Ukrainian immigrants in Poland on the time of the census, totally on momentary work and residence permits).
Meanwhile, the quantity figuring out as ethnically Jewish greater than doubled from 7,500 in 2011 to fifteen,700 in 2021. The final decade has seen rising numbers of Poles discovering long-hidden Jewish roots, but in addition migration to Poland of Jews from overseas.
However, the numbers stay tiny in comparison with the three million Jews that lived in Poland earlier than the Holocaust.

Among nationwide teams not historically native to Poland, the numbers of these figuring out as English or Irish quintupled between 2011 and 2021: from 10,500 to 48,700 in the case of the English, and from 2,100 to 10,000 for the Irish.
However, in each circumstances, over 90% of these individuals named English or Irish as their secondary identification. That could point out that a lot of the rise is related to earlier Polish emigrants to the UK and Ireland – which have been main locations for Poles, particularly since 2004 – and their households returning to Poland.

The new census data additionally present that English has overtaken Silesian as probably the most generally spoken language in individuals’s houses after Polish (which is the principle language used at dwelling by 98% of individuals in Poland).
In 2011, English was the principle language used at dwelling by 103,500 individuals, however by 2021 that had risen to 704,400. Users of Silesian (which many regard as a language, however some declare is a dialect) at dwelling fell from 529,400 to 457,900 over that interval, and Kashubian from 108,100 to 87,600.
That resulted in Kashubian being overtaken because the third mostly used language by German, which greater than doubled from 96,500 to 199,000. While Poland has a long-established German minority, that important rise is prone to have been attributable to migration from Germany.

Signs in Polish and Silesian have been put in in two Kaufland supermarkets in Silesia.
According to the writer of the translations, this proves that Silesian – categorized as an ethnolect, not a language – is a dwelling communication tool
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) December 28, 2022

Meanwhile, the variety of Russian and Ukrainian audio system additionally greater than doubled (to 59,900 and 53,200 respectively), probably on account of immigration from Ukraine, the place many individuals use Russian as their major language.
There had been additionally very giant relative rises in the variety of individuals talking French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Norwegian at dwelling, although the general numbers stays small.
As with English, which will replicate the return of Polish emigres and their households from these nations. But there has additionally been rising migration to Poland in current years of individuals from western and southern Europe.

The variety of immigrants from different EU nations resident in Poland has nearly tripled in a decade.
Many have come from Spain, Italy and Portugal, saying that Poland presents higher employment alternatives and high quality of life
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 1, 2020

Main picture credit score: BARTLOMIEJ BARCZYK / Agencja
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a variety of publications, together with Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

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