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Polish People in the UK - Half a million Polish Residents

Released: 25 August 2011 Download PDF

Polish-born people resident in the UK 2001-2010

Polish-born people resident in the UK
Source: Annual Population Survey (APS) - Office for National Statistics

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Since Poland and seven other central and Eastern European countries (collectively known as the A8) joined the EU in May 2004 around 66 per cent of all A8 citizens migrating to the UK have been Polish citizens. Between the year ending December 2003 and the year ending December 2010 the Polish-born population of the UK increased from 75,000 to 532,000.

More recently immigration of Polish people has declined. Immigration was highest in 2007 at 96,000 Polish citizens, but this declined to 39,000 in 2009. Emigration has also decreased from 54,000 to 29,000 over the same time period.

The Polish-born population is widely spread across the UK. In the year ending December 2010 they were one of the three largest non-UK born population groups in all countries and most regions of the UK. London had 122,000 Polish-born residents, 23 per cent of the UK total.

Of the Polish-born population in the UK in the year ending December 2010, 86 per cent were aged 16 to 64, compared to the mid-2009 estimate of 65 per cent for the UK population as a whole. This situation is very different from 2003, before Poland joined the EU, when only 55 per cent of Polish-born people in the UK were aged 16 to 64.

Q2 Polish Born People in Employment in the UK

Polish Born People in Employment in the UK
Source: Labour Force Survey - Office for National Statistics

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 In the second quarter of 2011 the number of Polish-born people aged 16 plus working in the UK was 449,888, an increase of around 60,000 on the previous quarter. In the second quarter of 2011 an estimated 84.6 per cent of Poles aged 16 to 64 were in employment, compared with a rate of 70.4 per cent for the UK as a whole. The unemployment rate among Polish-born people aged 16 plus during the same period was 5.5 per cent, compared with a UK unemployment rate of 7.8 per cent (both not seasonally adjusted).

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. The immigration, emigration, age distribution, employment and unemployment figures have been specially commissioned for this summary and are not otherwise published by ONS.

  2. Population, geographic distribution and age distribution figures for Polish-born people are based on household surveys, meaning that most communal establishment residents will be excluded. This is also true for all labour market data.
  3. Immigration and emigration figures refer to long-term migrants only - that is, who have changed their usual country of residence for a period of at least 12 months.
  4. The unemployment rates are the number of unemployed people aged 16+ divided by the economically active population aged 16+. The economically active population is defined as those in employment plus those who are unemployed.

  5. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.’


    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
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  6. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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