Polish American

From Academic Kids

Polish-American refers to American citizens of Polish descent. More than 5 million Poles have immigrated to the United States, most in the early 20th century. One of the most notable of the Polish-American communities is in Chicago, Illinois and its surrounding suburbs. The Almanac of American Politics 2004 states that "Even today, in Archer Heights [a neighborhood of Chicago], you can scarcely go a block without hearing someone speaking Polish".

When Poland lost independence at the end of 18th century in three partitions, Polish patriots, between them Kazimierz Pulaski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko left to America to fight for American Independence.

While the first Polish arrived in America in 1608 at Jamestown, the largest portion of the Polish immigration to America was the early 20th century. More than 1.5 million Polish immigrants were processed at Ellis Island between 1899 and 1931. Estimating the number of Polish immigrants is made more difficult by the history of Poland and its frequent division between neighboring countries. Poland ranks tenth as a source of illegal immigrants to the U.S. with an estimated 70,000 in the early 21st century. [1] (http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art905.asp)


Polish communities as part of urban America

The city with the highest number of Poles is Chicago (nearly a million people are of Polish descent). Thus, it is sometimes said that Chicago is the second largest "Polish" city in the world, as Warsaw, the Polish capital, is the only city with more Polish residents. Chicago has three major Polish neigborhoods. New York is second with over 600,000 Polish-Americans in its metropolitan area. Detroit is third, with traditional concentration near Hamtramck.

Other cities with major Polish communities include Buffalo, a city that once had a vibrant Polish neighborhood which is now completely integrated, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Columbus, Boston, Baltimore, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Pittsburgh. Despite the lack of new large-scale Polish immigration, some cities are emerging with strong Polish American communities. Milwaukee (which already had a major Polish population) and Denver (where richer Polish-Americans tend to move from Chicago) had major increases in their Polish populations in the last 10 years. There is also a tendency to move to Florida among Poles from Chicago and New York.

Polish-American Communities

Polish communities as part of rural America

While most Poles lived in urban centers, some did form farming communities like Panna Maria, Texas in 1854 or Posen, Michigan, founded in the 1870s.

Polish American culture

Cultural contributions of Polish American extend from the Polish dance classes, Polish newspapers, and culture groups like the Polish Falcons of America to the wider appeal of polka, and Polish foods like kielbasa (or Polish sausage), pierogi, kolachi.

The Polish community were long the subject of Anti-Polonism in America. These have become less common recently.

Polish Americans by state totals

According to the United States 2000 Census, American states with the largest numbers of self-reported Poles and Americans of Polish ancestry are:


Polish Americans by percentage of the total population


Famous Polish-Americans

See: List of Polish Americans

See also

External link


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