If Poland is to develop and build its position in Europe of a significant state, it must also be strong in the number of inhabitants. This is the main conclusion of the report of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers and the Warsaw Enterpise Institute. The authors wonder if in 30 years, Poland can be inhabited by up to 50 million people. About 11.5 million people more than today and more than 16 million more people than the demographic forecasts assume.
In Poland, for many years now, too few children are being born to ensure replacement of generations. Not only because the following generations are less numerous than the previous ones, but also because an increasing number of people are emigrating from Poland. There are already over 2.5 million Poles living abroad. We live increasingly longer, but there is ever fewer of us. From a young society, 20 years ago, we have become a society of older people.
Since the beginning of this decade, the number of inhabitants of Poland has stopped growing. If within 20-30 years we fail to reverse this trend, Poland has no chance of catching up with the West in terms of prosperity and economic development. According to the forecasts of the Central Statistical Office of Poland, even in case of the most optimistic scenarios of the Family 500+ programme’s impact on demography, the fertility rate in 2050 will amount to 1.85. The social policy that is being carried out may slightly reduce demographic risks, but it will not reverse the trend. The fertility rate must increase to at least 2.1.
In order to significantly increase the number of inhabitants of Poland, it is necessary to change the philosophy of functioning of the whole country. To this end, the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers together with Warsaw Enterprise Institute propose a comprehensive program of demographic reforms in three points:
- A reasonable and effective pro-family policy, the aim of which is to promote families in Poland in the 2 + 2 and 2 + 3 models. To achieve this, the following actions are necessary:
- increase in the number of financially accessible nurseries, kindergartens, school and out-of-school dayrooms,
- making labour law more flexible so that more people benefit from part-time work and other flexible forms of employment,
- review of parental and social benefits so that they simultaneously protect families in emergency situations and serve as guarantee for employers that employees have other options than taking advantage of employment to obtain financial benefits,
- creating an effective system of home construction executed by both the local governments and private companies in partnership,
- strengthening the position of local government as an institution that supervises and builds social infrastructure in the regions.
- Creating conditions conducive to the return of emigrants from abroad, which will be achieved thanks to:
- reducing the tax burden on taxes and quasi-fiscal charges,
- creating an institutional order that ensures economic freedom and the ease of doing business,
- ensuring the possibility of working in accordance with education, with remuneration adequate to qualifications not only in major cities but throughout the country,
- reduction of construction costs by eliminating the bureaucracy in housing construction.
- Smart absorption of immigrants, above all from countries neighbouring Poland, as a result:
- simplification of procedures related to legal employment of foreigners to the highest possible degree,
- creating conditions for residence of immigrant families in Poland,
- creating a fast track to recognise professional qualifications of immigrants,
- introduction of promotional activities, including promotion of Polish for foreigners and Polish language courses,
- creating a transparent procedure for obtaining permanent residence cards for settlement in our country.
The full and unabridged report is available for download at zpp.net.pl (materials).
The report was created as part of the “Agenda Poland” project, a joint venture of the Warsaw Enterprise Institute and the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, whose aim is to prepare a strategy for Poland’s development, systemic solutions, and improvement of the law in selected areas.
So far, the following publications were published in the series: