Polish Marriages and Families, Some Statistics, I

I am planning a series of articles about Polish wedding. But before I start a subject of weddings let me focus a bit on a situation of Polish young people, young married couples and families. Check the selection of texts devoted to Polish family, dating, weddings and women issues.

Recently the Report was published about the situation of the family in Poland in years 2000-2001 as compared to 1980-es. Here is the link to the information about it in Polish. It is obvious that a change in political situation in Poland affected Polish demographic situations and Polish family.According to this report each year there are less people to get married. In the beginning of 1980-es there were nine marriages per every one thousand of people, in 90-es only six. Partly the demographic situation is to blame. In early 90-es many people who were born in late 50-es were married - this was a time of the baby boom in Poland. The concubinage is very rare in Poland, only 1.2 %; much less than in the Western Europe.

Fewer number of marriages is caused also by a fact that people get married later nowadays. Until 80-es people were married usually in the age 20-24. Since late 80-es the marriages in age groups 24-34 are dominating. People were/are married young especially in small towns and villages. The allowed age for women to marry was 18, for men 21. It seems that presently law was changed and men are also allowed to marry at 18. One could get married at 16 and 20 respectively for men and women but only with the permission of the court. The court usually gives such permission especially when a child is on a way.

Below is a fragment of the official law document about it:
85. (6) [] Since the entry into force on 15 November 1998 of the Law of 24 July 1998 which amends the Family and Guardianship Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Law on Documents of the Registrar's Office, the Law on the Relationship of the State to the Catholic Church in the Republic of Poland and certain other laws (Legislative Gazette No. 117, item 757), couples may be married by a clergyman (if the formal requirements set down in article 1 of the Family and Guardianship Code are fulfilled). The minimum marriageable age for both men and women has been set at 18. But a family court may allow a woman who has attained 16 years of age to marry (article 10, paragraph 1, of the Family and Guardianship Code).

Less women and men decide to marry again after the first divorce than in the past. They prefer rather informal relationships than another marriage.

Poland has rather high percentage of people who are or were married compared to other European countries. Only 15% on men and 10% of women were never married before age of 50.

Arranged marriages in Poland is a rarity. But there is a pressure, especially in small towns and villages for girls to get married before 25. It happens that sometimes the family is helping to find a future husband. But nobody would ever officially admit that his/her marriage was arranged.

Cohabitation before marriage is rare but it does not mean that the marriage is not consummated. In 45 % of marriages a child is born less than nine months after the marriage. Sometimes getting pregnant is the most efficient way to get married (it is called - "to caught the husband on a baby"). Unmarried couples living together are not socially accepted. It is also very hard to find own apartment for young people. Very often young married couple has to live with their parents or parents in law together in the same apartment. It takes sometimes many years to be able to buy or rent (in affordable price) an apartment especially in big towns. Now the major problem is to get money because the apartments are available but the prices are very high. In the past people had to wait - the average waiting time in 70-es was eight years to buy their own apartment at affordable price. Later the waiting time was getting even longer because of the economical crisis. Quite frequently young people are not independent financially from the parents, so living together help. Recently there is a tendency to delay marriage to a time when young people are already independent financially.

Please, read the second part and the conclusions about Polish marriages

Copyright Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, 23 February 2003 (article #86)

If you want to go to Poland or meet Polish people I recommend a book written by Alexander M. Schenker, entitled:
Beginning Polish

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