Changes In Population And Demographic Structure Since The 1960s
Because of rural-urban migration after 1945, by the 1980s, the Polish population was transformed from a predominantly rural one into an urban one. The rural family was characterized as a three-generational, extended family, often living in the same household and working together on the farm. Rural people marry at relatively earlier ages and have higher birth and lower divorce rates.
The consequences of the industrialization and urbanization processes include changes in the composition of the family, in marital stability, in childbirth patterns, and in the number of children per family. Rural families tend to have more children than do urban ones. In socialist Poland, abortion was legal and served as a primary means of birth control. In postsocialist Poland, the aging of the population, decreasing birth rate and natural increase rate all contribute to the changing demographic structure. (The natural increase rate is calculated from the difference between the total numbers of births and deaths during one calendar year. Depending on which number is larger, the rate can be positive or negative.) People are marrying less, they are postponing their first marriages, and they are divorcing more frequently (see Table 1). Such trends resemble the vital statistics in other Western societies.