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Poland, migration 19th century to present

Migration A–Z


  1. Kathy Burrell

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm416

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Burrell, K. 2013. Poland, migration 19th century to present. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Until recently, modern Poland has characteristically been a country of emigration; flows away from the country have not only been significant in scale, but have also had an important influence on the nation's self-identity, being closely tied to the political and economic fortunes of the country. Polish emigration can broadly be divided into two categories, political and economic. Before considering these, however, there are some complications related to modern-era emigrations that need to be addressed. Firstly, between 1795 and 1918 Poland did not exist as a nation-state on the map of Europe, having been partitioned between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. These three zones were markedly different in terms of migration dynamics, making generalizations necessarily unsatisfactory. It was the poorer Russian zone which was most associated with mass emigration, for example, but political migration was also significant from the Austrian territory. Secondly, the partitioned state of Poland also meant that there were difficulties in officially counting Polish emigrants in the reception countries during this period; national residence and ethnicity were not congruent. Who was Polish came down to a commitment to ethnicity above all else.


  • imperialism;
  • war;
  • labor supply;
  • regional development