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Country statement submitted by the government of Poland.

In: European Population Conference / Conference Europeenne sur la Population. Proceedings / Actes. Volume 2. 23-26 March 1993, Geneva, Switzerland / 23-26 mars 1993, Geneve, Suisse, [compiled by] United Nations. Economic Commission for Europe, Council of Europe, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA]. Strasbourg, France, Council of Europe, 1994. 261-71.

Economic changes in Poland have restricted social welfare development and services. Population has been below replacement level since 1989, and life expectancy has declined with a relatively high infant mortality. There is considerable emigration of the young and skilled, and 2.5 million were unemployed in 1992. There will be an increase in the population aged 45-64 years and among pensioners. Although there is no formal population policy, the government has aimed to reach replacement level fertility, to improve the quality of life, to balance the distribution of the population, and to formulate better international agreements on economic migration into and out of Poland. There is public concern about uncontrolled immigration from countries of the former Soviet Union, since Poland is a transit stop for refugees on their way to Germany or Scandinavia. Preferential treatment is been given to Polish migrants in the former Soviet Union. Illegal foreign labor has increased, and crime is a problem. There are plans for policy reform and for the establishment of an Immigration Office. Marriage is declining, and cohabitation is increasing. The birth rate declined from 19.7/1000 in 1983 to 14.3 in 1991. 8% of total births were to juveniles, 6% were born out of wedlock, and 8% were low birth weight. Contraception is available through pharmacies; sterilization is not performed, and abortion regulations are under debate. Unfavorable lifestyles and health behaviors contribute to a poor health situation and an increase in male mortality in all age groups. Circulatory system diseases are a primary cause of death, followed by cancers, injuries, and poisoning. Infant mortality was 15.0/1000 live births in 1991, mostly due to perinatal complications (50%) and developmental defects (27%). Hepatitis B infection is high in Poland, with 30 cases/1000; tuberculosis is declining, but was still high at 42.3/100,000 in 1990 and accounted for 40% of all infectious disease mortality. HIV infections numbered 1996 cases by 1991. Life expectancy is 66.1 years for males and 75.3 years for females. The Polish health strategy conforms to WHO directives and emphasizes general health promotion and at-risk populations. Poland is particularly concerned about population problems in the Eastern and Central European region and in countries of the former Soviet Republic.

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