Poland Table of Contents
Population: According to 1981 official estimate, 36.1 million. According to 1991 official estimate, 38.3 million; projected 2000 population, 39.5 million.
Ethnic Groups and Languages: About 98 percent of population ethnic Poles; largest minority groups Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Germans; estimates of minority populations vary greatly. Polish, a West Slavic language, official and universally used; regional dialects do not impede communication.
Religion: About 96 percent of population Roman Catholic, according to 1991 survey; small numbers in various Protestant and Orthodox denominations and small Jewish population.
Education: About 98 percent of population over age fifteen literate. Eight grades of primary school compulsory; secondary program divided into college preparatory (26 percent in 1991) and vocational tracks. Institutions of higher learning include universities, polytechnical schools, and specialized academies such as medical and agricultural schools.
Health: Former communist system of free health care for all workers underwent reform in early 1990s. Privatization of medical practice, already common under communism, expanded but raised prices and did not make care consistently available. Obsolescence of equipment and shortage of medicines a continued problem; drive for consolidation closed many facilities; national health insurance plan slow in developing.
Data as of October 1992