Officially the Republic of Poland, the country is the fifth-most populous member state of the European Union with a declining population of 38.3 million inhabitants.
Around 60% of the country's population lives in urban areas or major cities and 40% in rural communities.
Seeking refuge from the war in their home country, over 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees registered in Poland in 2022. Most of these are women and children, who were seeking safety. Children and young people need support so that they can continue their education.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Poland since 1983.
Many families are not covered by social security, which leaves 3.8 million children in need social assistance
Social assistance programmes in Poland are often limited. For example, many entitlements, including child allowance, have remained the same for several years and have not increased to include the rising cost of living. Coupled with low wages, families struggle to provide for their children. As a result, children in these families live precariously on the margins of society, in poverty, or at risk of falling into poverty.
Around 15% of the population in Poland live below the poverty line, with approximately 900,000 children at risk of poverty.
In addition, over 4% of people live in extreme poverty, meaning that more than 400,000 children in Poland are experiencing severe material deprivation. Extreme poverty makes it impossible for parents to meet the basic needs of their household. As a result, children do not have adequate food and shelter, and lack access to education, and healthcare.
Unemployment affects around 5% of the Polish labour force, with around 1.7 million people registered as unemployed
However, the highest rate of unemployment, over 9%, is experienced by young people, meaning that almost 340,000 young people are struggling to find work. Young people who are out of work have decreased well-being and greater social isolation. They also lack opportunities to gain and improve their skills, exacerbating employment and socio-economic challenges.