Geographia Polonica (1988) vol. 54

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Migration trends and regional labour market change in Poland

Piotr Korcelli

Geographia Polonica (1988) vol. 54, pp. 5-18


At the micro-level, the main factors of internal migration in Poland have been associated with "possibilities of improvement in the economic and social position of migrants, the desire for better living conditions, and the expectation of an improved social and physical environment" (Dziewoński and Korcelli 1981, p. 29). These mechanisms were, at the marco-level, translated traditionally into the interdependence between migration and industrial/urban development. According to Dziewoński et al. (1977, p. 144): "After 1950 the magnitude and directions of internal migrations have mainly been influenced by industrialization and urbanization pocesses". Furthermore, "industrialization represented the main driving force of urban growth". Indeed, 140 out of 241 urban centres with 10 000 inhabitants or more in 1960 had at least 50 per cent of their total employment in industry and construction in 1960. (Ibid., p. 316).The peak in internal migration flows occurred in the mid-fifties when crude migration rates amounted to 50 — 55 per thousand population. (Reference is made to the period since 1948, when large shifts of the population due to post-war resettlement have come to an end.) During the following decade the rates gradually declined to the level of 26-27 per thousand, as a result of the contraction of industrial investment outlays and new farm policies. Interdependence of migration and industrial change, however, still persisted. Districts with net migration gain accounted for 77 per cent of the total inmigration, 64 per cent of employment growth and 88 per cent of all new investments in industry between 1966—1970 (Stpiczyński 1972). The 1970s brought an acceleration of urban/industrial growth together with a growth of spatial mobility. Owing to administrative reform in 1974 which involved an increase in the size of basic reporting units, the latter development has not been reflected in current population statistics. Instead, migration rates during the seventies appeared to be at the same level as during the sixties. This statistical artifact has only partly been accounted for in relevant demographic and geographic literature.


Piotr Korcelli, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland