Centers of Polish Immigration in the World - USA and Germany

Read an article, Polish Diaspora Worldwide to have a rough idea where Poles live around the globe, outside of Poland.
Below is more detailed analysis. We start with two countries with the largest number of Polish immigrants, the USA and Germany.


Read about the history of Polish Immigration to America.
According to the census 2000, American states with the largest numbers of Poles and Americans of Polish ancestry are New York (958,893), Illinois (946,241), Michigan (900,335), Pennsylvania (855,526), New Jersey (591,347), California (496,588), Wisconsin (481,779), Florida (430,138), Ohio (404,557), Massachusetts (349,998), Connecticut (278,010), Texas (234,861), Minnesota (222,997), Maryland (186,312), Indiana (164,587), Arizona (140,541), Virginia (112,658), Missouri (104,460) and Colorado (97,420). The city with the highest amount of Poles is Chicago - 1.8 millions. Chicago is the second largest "Polish" city in the world. Warsaw, Polish capital is the only city with more Polish residents. New York is on the second place with about 600,000 Polish American in metropolitan area and Detroit is the third with about a half of million. Click to the name of the town to access a link with more information about Polish immigrants.
Also Cleveland, Buffalo, Milwaukee, Columbus, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, Seattle, Sandusky, Pulaski etc. have significant Polish population.

There is a trend among Poles to move away from big cities to the suburbs – thus the number of Polish Americans in Chicago, Detroit and New York gradually decreases. The censuses 1990 and 2000 show growing number of Poles migrating to the regions of the USA which were underpopulated by Poles on the expense on the traditional centers of Polish immigration.


Areas with the largest amount of people of Polish origin is a Western part of Germany, especially industrial region Ruhr (700,000 in Dortmund, Krefeld, Recklinghausen, Bochum). In some periods of the XIX century more Poles emigrated to "Ruhr Gebiet" to work in mines than to America. This region attracted also many new immigrants described below.

Between 1950 and 1987, about 850 thousands of people immigrated to Germany as resettlers (“aussiedlers” in German), many of these people claimed German connections but they immigrated mainly from economical reasons. With the fall of the Iron Curtain even more Poles were able to come to Germany. It is estimated that about half of a million of resettlers were admitted there. Illegal immigration to Germany was also very high in 80-es and early 90-es. Poles were looking for jobs there especially since Polish currency had a very low value compared to Deutsche Mark. Some of these people were able to legalize their stay later.
Berlin, capital of Germany has significant amount of new Polish immigration (180,000), Hamburg about 100,000. The other big cities with many Polish immigrants are: Bremen, Hannover and Munich.

Read also the article of Michael Pieslak about centers of Polish immigration.

In the future we will describe Polish immigration to other regions of the world.


written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, 15 March 2003 (article #90)

Below are two interesting books about immigration to America:

Polish Immigrants, 1890-1920 (Blue Earth Books: Coming to America) by Rosemary Wallner, John Radzilowski:

Scholarly study of some Europeans ethnic groups written by Matthew Frye Jacobson, David Roediger and entitled: Special Sorrows: The Diasporic Imagination of Irish, Polish, and Jewish Immigrants in the United States.

If you are interested in Polish immigration and a history of Poland the selections from Amazon below may help you:

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