From Free net encyclopedia

You may also be looking for the plural of the word pole.

Template:Ethnic group
   144,130 (2001) [2]
   73,000 (2002) [3]
United Kingdom:
   57,000 (est.)
Czech Republic:
   52,000 (2001)[4]
   47,293 (1999) [6]
Rest of World:
   150,000 (est.)
|langs=Polish |rels=Predominantly Roman Catholic with Atheist, Protestant and orthodox minorities. |related=Indo-Europeans
    West Slavs }}

The Poles (Polish: Polacy) are a people inhabiting the country of Poland (in Central Europe) and a number of other states in the world, where they form a significant Polish diaspora.

There is no commonly accepted definition of the Poles. According to the preamble of the Constitution of Poland, the Polish Nation consists of all citizens of Poland. However, like in most European countries, many people limit the group to native speakers of the Polish language, people that share certain views or traditions, or people who share a common ethnic background originating from Poland. As to the ethnicity, the name of the nation comes from a western Slavic ethnic group primarily associated with Poland and the Polish language. Poles belong to the Lechitic subgroup of these ethnic people. The Polans were one of the most influential tribes of the Greater Poland, inhabitated the areas around the towns of Giecz, Gniezno and Poznań, and managed to unite most of other Slavic clans in the area under the rule of what became the Piast Dynasty, thus giving birth to a new state. The Polish name for a Pole is Polak m and Polka f, and the ordinary words for Pole in other languages such as Spanish ("polaco") are derived from Polak. The term "Polak" (pronounced like "Poe-lock," often spelled "Polack" in English) is sometimes used derogatorily to refer to Poles in English.



Poles are the second largest Slavic nation after Russians in terms of population number, just ahead of Ukrainians, and the largest predominantly Roman Catholic one. Estimates vary greatly, though most data suggests a total number around 50 million. There are 38 million Poles in Poland alone as well as autochthonous Polish minorities in the surrounding countries such as Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus. There are some smaller minorities in Moldava, Latvia etc. Note that there was/is also a Polish minority in the Soviet Union which included autochthonous Poles as well as some forcefully transferred Poles. The total number of Poles in the former Soviet Union is estimated at 3 million.

The official census results (including a few educated estimates) are listed on the right, as well as Polish government estimates.

The term Polonia is nowadays usually used in Poland to refer to people of Polish origin who live outside Polish borders, officially estimated at around 10 to 12 million. There is a notable Polish diaspora in the United States, Canada, and Brazil (see Polish Brazilian). In the United States a significant number of Polish immigrants settled in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Buffalo. In recent years, since joining the European Union, many Polish people have emigrated to countries such as Ireland, where an estimated 150,000 Polish people have entered the labour market.

Medieval Polish clans

The following is the list of clans that constituted the lands of Poland in early Middle Ages, at the beginning of Polish state. Some of them remain today a separate ethnicity while others have melted into the culture of Poland.

Ethnic Poles

Ethnic Poles are those who are considered by others or by themselves, to be ethnically Polish rather than anything else but who do not live within Poland nor hold its citizenship. People in this category seem to be usually considered to be ethnic Poles by others, but sometimes by themselves, take for example the people of Polish ancestry in Germany/Austria who speak little of having Polish descent and do not consider themselves as Poles despite having visible Polish family names which would connect them in some way to the Polish language and/or ethnicity. This can also be applied to citizens of countries who do not define themselves as Polish despite having visible Polish family names, or being considered Polish in the eyes of others for many different types of reasons. The concept of ethnic Poles can be defined by this following criteria:

Ethnic Poles are people who may not have a connection to the Polish language, culture or citizenship, but they are identified or seen as being Polish in countries outside of Poland, due to such factors as having Polish, or partly Polish parents or ancestors. This is an attempt to explain Polish identity whether it comes from others or oneself. People with Polish or Partly-Polish family names can be discussed even if nothing else is known about their ancestry at the present time except for that.

The subject of Ethnic Poles should be separate from vague word "Poles" for the following reasons:

  • The word Pole can be defined as follows: Poles are people considered to be Poles by being in any way connected to the Polish (former or current land), language, ethnicity, or culture.
  • Some may want to be more specific, some less in their definitions of "Poles". Still others insist on different wordings or strict political definitions or terminologies such as people being born on land not owned by Poland at the time of their birth not being Polish, as by citizenship standards, despite having a visible connection to the Polish ethnicity, or Poles, such as by a partly or fully Polish family name.


  1. Poles in Australia (PDF)
  2. Poles in Belarus
  3. Poles in Canada
  4. Poles in Brazil
  5. Poles in Germany According to Andrej Kazula.: Zuwanderer aus Polen in Deutschland the numbers are estimated up to 2 million. Because of the quick assimilation, frequent intermarriages no exact figures are available.
  6. Poles in Lithuania
  7. Poles in Ukraine
  8. Poles in Czech Republic (PDF)
  9. Poles in US (PDF) The [9] American Community Survey 2004 by the US Census Bureau estimates 9,385,233 people claiming Polish ancestry.
  10. Poles in The Netherlands (PDF)
  11. Poles in Britain
  12. Poles in other countries (>polonia > statystyka)

See also

External links

bs:Poljaci da:Polak de:Polen (Volk) et:Poolakad es:Polacos ko:폴란드인 hr:Poljaci ka:პოლონელები lv:Poļi lt:Lenkai ja:ポーランド人 pl:Polacy pt:Polacos ru:Поляки sl:Poljaki sr:Пољаци uk:Поляки (Do not reguard the word Poles, as it is a racist word for Polish people)