The population of Poland today is around 38 million. The World War II toll on Poland was a staggering 6 million - including 3 million Jews slaughtered in the Nazi death camps. At present, more than 98 percent of the people are Poles, with small groups of Ukrainians, Belarussians, Germans, Slovaks and Lithuanians.
The language is Polish with English as the most popular foreign language in Poland. Around 60% of the population live in urban areas There are a number of large cities, including five with populations of more than 500000. Warsaw, the capital, is the largest with a head count of 1.7 million inhabitants. Krakow (Cracow), Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Szczecin and Lodz.
Around 99% of Poles would consider themselves to be Roman Catholic, with only about 0.1% of the population being Evangelical Christians. Much of Polish traditions, customs and holidays are associated with religion, having a big influence on what people think, believe and how they live.
Polish cuisine and dining etiquette are a good reflection of the warmth in the Polish character. Having a meal with one's family is not just consumption of food - it is celebration!
Polish people are the original potato eaters and potatoes have been the mainstay of the Polish kitchens through centuries. Meat is also popular (cold cuts and sausages mainly) often grilled outside in the garden, or on the front lawn
Poles are gregarious in character and love to show affection during interaction. The word "czesc" is Polish for "hi", however, even an English "hello" is guaranteed to get a warm response. The first few minutes of any meeting is spent in greeting each other and shaking hands. Familiarity is expressed with embraces and pecks on the cheek.