Post Eagle Newspaper


May 19, 2024

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Who Is A Pole?

How Do Poles In Poland Answer That Question?

The Piast Institute, a national center for Polish and Polish American affairs, has a working relationship with the Polish research and polling center, CBOS. We at Piast often work on very similar kinds of studies.. Some of its studies are of considerable interest to Polonia and we thus try to bring those to the attention of our audience.

The Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS) established in 1982, is a publicly funded independent research center. It is one of the largest, best known and respected public opinion research institutes in Poland.

CBOS recently published a survey taken in June 2015 in Poland to determine what characteristics Poles consider determinants of Polish identity. In other words “What makes one Polish?” The results are interesting and can help inform our own discussion here in America on “What makes one a Polish American?” As the CBOS survey indicates, overwhelming (59%) Poles have decided that self identification is the most important determinant of Polishness. This is the criterion we also use, based on the U.S. Census practice, in our own enumeration of Polish Americans.

What Is Necessary to Deem Somebody a Pole?
Seeing a list of potential national identity determinants developed by CBOS interviewees were asked which are necessary to deem somebody a Pole. Only 2% of interviewees were not able to point out any determinants. The most often chosen national identity indicator was self-identification i.e. identifying oneself as a Pole. The second most commonly chosen criterion was having Polish citizenship. Catholicism as a necessary determinant of being Polish was the least often chosen from the list of indicators.



More on that issue can be found in the CBOS report in Polish: “National Identity and Perception of National and Ethnic Minorities”. The data comes from the survey “Current Problems and Events” conducted in June 2015.

This survey and many more can be found on the English language CBOS website or the Polish language CBOS site

Submitted by Virginia Skrzyniarz
Piast Institute