09.02.2018 change 09.02.2018

Demographer: The number of Polish-Ukrainian marriages has increased 2.5 times in recent years

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

The number of Polish-Ukrainian marriages registered in Poland has increased 2.5 times in recent years. This is a consequence of a growing number of Ukrainian immigrants in Poland in the last four years - believes Prof. Piotr Szukalski, demographer from the University of Lodz.

We can expect that the number of Polish-Ukrainian marriages will continue to grow in the coming years, Prof. Szukalski says.

According to the professor, in the last two years the number of bi-national marriages registered in Poland, that means marriages concluded by Polish citizens with citizens of other countries, increased from 3367 to 4662, by almost 38 percent, reaching the maximum value recorded in the last twenty years.

As a result, instead of the previous 1.5-2.0 percent, in 2016 bi-national marriages constituted 2.4 percent of all marriages in Poland. In addition, according to the available statistical data, Polish citizens conclude about three times more bi-national marriages in other countries.

The demographer draws attention to the general rule that could also be observed a dozen years ago in the case of marriages of Polish citizens in Western European countries. Approximately 2-4 years after a large inflow of immigrants, those who settle in a given country begin to marry as a result of increased contacts with that country's residents.

Exactly the same situation has been observed in recent years in Poland. "For more than four years we have been seeing an increased inflow of Ukrainian immigrants to Poland and their settlement. It is hardly a surprise that the last three years were the time of rapid increase in the number of Polish-Ukrainian marriages, the number of which has increased 2.5 times, from less than 400 to nearly 1000" - Szukalski told PAP.

In his opinion, considering the fact that a really huge influx of Ukrainian citizens took place in the last two years, we can expect that in the coming 2-4 years the number of Polish-Ukrainian marriages will continue to increase and may exceed the record number of such marriages concluded in the years directly preceding Poland's accession to the EU.

"I think that this record level will be reached in the next 2-3 years, and later the number of Polish-Ukrainian marriages will probably stabilise at that level as a consequence of those several hundred thousand, or even more than a million Ukrainians living in our country" - he added.

According to the demographer, in the case of bi-national marriages there are different directions of acquiring spouses by Polish women and men. Ukrainian women, followed by Russian and Belarusian women (in 2016, respectively: 782, 107 and 99), are most often chosen as spouses by Polish men. In turn, men from the UK (675), Germany (322), Italy (239) and Ukraine (184) are most often chosen as spouses by Polish women.

"In the case of Polish-Ukrainian marriages, those concluded by Polish men and Ukrainian women evidently dominate - they constitute over 80 percent of all Polish-Ukrainian marriages concluded in Poland. And these are not all Polish-Ukrainian marriages, because there is nothing to prevent such a marriage from being registered in Ukraine, or in any other country" - says the demographer.

In the Polish reality, the importance of bi-national marriages has previously been recognized primarily in the context of around two million Polish citizens who have permanent places of residence abroad. However, the number of marriages concluded in Western European countries by Polish citizens, especially Polish women, has been stabilizing in recent years.

"For example, in the case of the United Kingdom this number has been stable for several years, because the number of Polish citizens living in the UK has not changed drastically" - says Prof. Szukalski.

In his opinion, in general, the tendency to enter into international marriages will slowly increase, because it will reflect the changing mentality of young people who more often consider studying or spending 2-3 years working abroad.

"These longer stays in different environments at least sometimes lead naturally to marriages with people met in those environments" - concludes the demographer. (PAP)

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