New York Dethrones Chicago as the ‘Largest Polish City’ Outside of Warsaw

New York has surpassed Chicago as the largest “Polish city” in the U.S., with 55,000 Polish immigrants compared to the Windy City’s 46,000.

According to Nowy Dziennik, recent data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2008-2010) indicates that Chicago is no longer the largest “Polish city” after Warsaw.

The city is now home to 45,958 immigrants of Polish origin and 126,346 Americans of Polish origin (data from the American Community Survey for 2008-2010). In comparison, the same source estimates that there are currently 55,581 immigrants of Polish origin living in New York and 163,269 Americans of Polish origin.

Also, when it comes to the number of Polish Americans living in the entire state, New York, with 999,178 people of Polish origin (including 86,527 individuals born outside the U.S.) tops Illinois. In the latter, there are 979,499 Polish Americans, including 148,286 immigrants.

Despite New York City’s larger number of Poles, Chicago’s metro area still boasts a greater concentration, according to Thadeus Radzilowski of the Michigan-based Piast Institute, which conducts studies on the Polish American community.

The difference between Chicago and New York also lies in the fact that New York state has many Polish American communities–apart from the Big Apple, people of Polish origin can be found in Buffalo, Syracuse and Utica. Meanwhile, in Illinois, both Poles and Americans of Polish origin all live within the vicinity of Chicago.

“When it comes to the concentration of the Polish American community, it is indeed Chicago and the adjacent counties that take the lead over the New York metro area,” Mr. Radzilowski says.

Over at least the past two decades, Polish immigrants have shifted their gaze from Chicago, said Malgorzata Ptaszynska, a journalist at 1030 AM, a Polish radio station in Chicago. Their destinations of choice now lie further east, he said.

A study that he did in the 1990s indicates that most of the Poles immigrating to the U.S. would rather head to the East Coast – from Boston through New York to Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

“Chicago would draw those who had family or friends here,” he adds.


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