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People and Society






Poland's history as a state begins near the middle of the 10th century. By the mid-16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled a vast tract of land in central and eastern Europe. During the 18th century, internal disorders weakened the nation, and in a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland among themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force with over ten million members. Free elections in 1989 and 1990 won Solidarity control of the parliament and the presidency, bringing the Communist era to a close. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.


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People And Society

Noun Pole(s)
Adjective Polish

Ethnic groups
Polish 96.7%, German 0.4%, Belarusian 0.1%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 2.7% (2002 census)

Polish (official) 97.8%, other and unspecified 2.2% (2002 census)

Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)

Population World Ranking: 33
38,415,284 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
14.7% (male 2,910,324/female 2,748,546)
15-64 years
71.6% (male 13,698,363/female 13,834,779)
65 years and over
13.7% (male 2,004,550/female 3,245,026) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 38.8 years
Male 37.2 years
Female 40.6 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 198
-0.075% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 193
9.96 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 48
10.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 137
-0.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 61% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
-0.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
WARSAW (capital) 1.71 million; Krakow 756,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.62 male(s)/female
Total population
0.94 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 175
5 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 169
Total 6.42 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 7.12 deaths/1,000 live births
5.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 77
Total population 76.25 years
Male 72.31 years
Female 80.43 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 209
1.31 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 75
7.1% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
2.144 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density
6.62 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 148
0.1%; note - no country specific models provided (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 70
27,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 109
Fewer than 200 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Intermediate
Food or waterborne diseases Bacterial diarrhea
Vectorborne disease Tickborne encephalitis
Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 24
18% (2001)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 63
4.9% of GDP (2007)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 99.5%
Male 99.7%
Female 99.4% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 15 years
Male 15 years
Female 16 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 52
Total 20.7%
Male 20.2%
Female 21.2% (2009)


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  Poland (Warsaw):

  GPS points from Poland (Warsaw)

Budzow (pl29)

Srem (pl53)

Samrodt-see Warmian-masurian Voivodeship

Wisiel (pl40)

Choiny Masovian Voivodeship

Kolonia Anusin Lublin Voivodeship

Skomanten Warmian-masurian Voivodeship

Giesewen Warmian-masurian Voivodeship
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