Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents


Population Density and Distribution

The most important change in postwar Poland's population distribution was the intense urbanization that took place during the first two decades of communist rule. The priorities of central economic planning undoubtedly hastened this movement, but experts hypothesize that it would have occurred after World War II in any case (see Establishing the Planning Formula , ch. 3). In 1931 some 72.6 percent of the population was classified as rural, with nearly 60 percent relying directly on agriculture for their livelihood. By 1978 those figures had diminished to 42.5 and 22.5 percent, respectively. In the next ten years, the share of rural population dropped by only 3.7 percent, however, indicating that the proportions had stabilized.

In 1989 Poland had twenty-four cities with populations of at least 150,000 people. Major urban centers are distributed rather evenly through the country; the most concentrated urban region is the cluster of industrial settlements in Katowice District (see fig. 13, Appendix). In 1990 overall population density was 121 people per square kilometer, up from 115 per square kilometer in 1981. The most densely populated places are the cities of ód (over 3,000 people per square kilometer) and Warsaw (about 2,000 people per square kilometer). Urban areas, which contain over 60 percent of Poland's population, occupy about 6 percent of the country's total area. In 1990 average population density in rural areas was fifty-one people per square kilometer, a small increase over the 1950 figure of forty-seven people per square kilometer.

Data as of October 1992