Poland faces challenge of an ageing population combined with a declining birth rate, 2021 census reveals

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The 2021 Polish census showed a slight decrease in the country’s population compared to a decade ago, the head of Statistics Poland (GUS) Dominik Rozkrut has revealed.

According to the 2021 census, 38.2 million people lived in Poland at the end of March 2021. This is a 330,000 decrease — just shy of 1 percent — on the results of the 2011 census.

The Polish population was split between 48.5 percent of men and 51.5 percent of women, a similar gender split to that shown 10 years ago. The slightly larger female population has been attributed to women having a longer average lifespan in Poland.

Statistics Poland warned however that there had been significant changes in the age structure of Polish population.

Within a decade the number of people aged between 60 and 65 and above has increased by 1.8 million – every fifth Pole is older than 60.

The share of people in pre-production and production age has lowered and the number of people in post-production age has increased.

The pre-production group are people aged 0 to 17 years and they dropped from 18.7 percent to 18.2 percent. In post-production age, there has been a considerable growth from 16.9 percent to 21.8 percent.

Within a decade, the number of people aged between 60 and 65 and above had increased by 1.8 million — every fifth Pole is older than 60.

The number of houses in Poland in March 2021 amounted to 15.2 million — a 12.6 percent increase (1.7 million homes) compared to 2011. There were also 6.8 million buildings in Poland — 800,000 and 13.3 percent more than in 2011.

The preliminary results of the 2021 National Population and Housing Census were presented on Thursday during the Third Demographic Congress in Warsaw.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who was present at the Congress, emphasized the importance of demography as a direction for action for the government. He stressed the value of the census as a tool for conducting policy due to its objective data and declared that in the near future Poland will have to face several demographic challenges.

“This is not just about a declining birth rate, which has been a characteristic of many societies, but also an aging population and population decreases resulting from migration waves,” he said.

Morawiecki underlined that according to GUS data from recent years, Poland has had a positive migration balance and more Poles have been returning to the country than have been leaving.

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