Praga, Warsaw. ©2015 David Wills/Utrecht University. All rights reserved.
Warsaw is the largest city in Poland, both in terms of surface area and population. As the state capital it performs important political, administrative, cultural and economic functions. Warsaw constitutes a major concentration of domestic, as well as foreign capital investment. It is a well-developed centre with advanced services and the largest scientific and research center in Poland.

Warsaw hosts the largest number of higher education institutions in the country; in the academic year of 2010/2011 there were 77 of them. Of the total number of students in Poland, 15.2% study in Warsaw. According to the Warsaw Statistical Office in September 2012 there were 349,866 business entities (national economy units) registered in the city, which constitutes 50.7% of all economic entities in the Mazovia Province (Mazowsze voivodship).

Science, research and business sectors all contribute to the diversity of the city, with respect to inclusion and integration, as well as the overall diversification of the population. As a reflection of integration and social inclusion the growing shares of foreign students studying in Warsaw and of disabled students (respectively 2.3% and 1.2% in 2011) is noteworthy. Another characteristic feature is the growing awareness of diversity within the society which is stimulated by business institutions and NGOs.

Throughout its history, Warsaw has undergone various transitions in terms of its urban fabric, spatial structure and social composition. The once ethnically heterogeneous metropolis of the interwar period (1918-1939), and the ideologically Western-most eastern capital of the European communist bloc (1945-1989) has become the Eastern-most westernised capital city, the leader of the socio-economic transition and a dynamically developing, globalizing and, at the same time, diversifying city.

Warsaw is the habitat of both positively perceived diversification caused by a re-opening to the world, by the growth of population mobility and internationalisation of the economy, as well as of negatively associated diversity reflected in social stratification, spatial polarisation and emerging urban conflicts. The delayed and stepped-up modernisation of economy and society, the combination of traditional values and cosmopolitan flair, the echos of the past and its strongly future-orientated aspirations, have placed Warsaw among the most promising cities in East-Central Europe.

Praga Północ (Praga North) and Praga Południe (Praga South) are two adjacent districts of Vistula right-bank Warsaw. Together they constitute the nucleus of the so-called ‘old Praga’, with a considerable share of urban fabric which survived World War II destruction.

Praga Północ is one of the oldest districts of Warsaw and one of the few that have sustained its historical character. A considerable part of the area’s urban tissue was constructed at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, or in the interwar period. The district has maintained some of the so-called Warsaw folklore; a number of inhabitants still use the Warsaw dialect on an everyday basis. In the last decade the district has become a fashionable place and is exhibiting signs of gentrification, attracting the creative class and migrants searching for inspiration arising out of the local genius loci. At the same time, among the 18 Warsaw districts, Praga Północ has the largest number of unemployed (per 1000 inhabitants) and the highest share of population receiving welfare benefits.

Conversely, Praga Południe can be characterised as a more homogeneous district which is dynamically developing as a site of new housing, as well as commercial and infrastructure investments. Still, the district continues to rank among those with one of the highest levels of unemployment in Warsaw.

Both districts are considered to be diverse, especially with respect to socio-economic and cultural diversity: on the one hand contrasting living standards, and the cohabitation of folklore and modern creative class on the other.

District Images

Key Statistics

POLAND Poland Warsaw Praga Północ Praga Południe
Unemployment [1] 13.40% 4.61% 7.13% 5.13%
Number of persons per business entity 9.6 [3] 5.0 [2] 6.4 5.3
Total population 38 538 000 [6] 1 708 500 [4] 69 514 178 665 [5]
Average monthly household income per capita € 297.9 [7] € 511.2** *
Area sq km [8] 311 835 517.2 11.4 22.4
Average apartment price per sq.m [9] € 1 016 € 1 893 € 1 421 € 1 877 [11]
Highest level of education [13] Poland Warsaw Praga Północ Praga Południe
Primary education; lower secondary education 44.90% 25% 37% 25%
Middle vocational education; high school 29.00% 38% 35% 38%
Higher vocational education; tertiary education 19.60% 29% 18% 28%
Largest national/ethnic groups (other than Polish)

POLAND – Total 3.65% [18]

Silesian – 2.12%
Cashubian – 0.6%
German – 0.33%
Ukrainian – 0.13%
Belorussian – 0.12%
Romany – 0.04%
Russian – 0.03%
Jewish – 0.02%
Lithuanian – 0.02%
Vietnamese – 0.01%
Other 0.26%


Vietnamese – 1.75%**
French – 0.35%
Belarusian – 0.3%
Roma – 0.08%
African- 0.04%
Ukrainian – 0.03%
American – 0.02%
German – 0.01%

Age Groups

Warsaw 0-9

Warsaw 10-19

Warsaw 20-29

Warsaw 30-44

Warsaw 45-65

Warsaw 65+

1. Central Statistical Office, Warsaw, 2011 (data of 2011)
2. Statistical Yearbook of Warsaw, 2012 (data of 2011)
3. Central Statistical Office, Warsaw, 2013 (data of 2011)
4. Statistical Yearbook of Warsaw, 2012 (data of 2011)
5. Statistical Yearbook of Warsaw, 2012(data of 2011)
6. Demographic Yearbook of Poland, 2012, Central Statistical Office, Warsaw (data of 2011)
7. Statistical Yearbook of Poland, 2012 (data of 2011)
8. Statistical Yearbook of Warsaw, 2012 (data of 2011)
9. Data from GazetaDom.pl (data of February 2012)
10. Statistical Yearbook of Warsaw, 2012 (data of 2011)
11. Local Data Bank of the Central Statistical Office (data of 2012)
12. Demographic Yearbook of Poland 2012, Central Statistical Office, Warsaw (data of 2011)
13. National Population Census 2002(data of 2002)
14. Statistical Office in Warsaw, 2012 (data of 2011)
15. Statistical Office in Warsaw, 2012 (data od 2011)   
16. Central Statistical Office, 2012 (according to National Population Census 2011)               
17. Local Data Bank of the Central Statistical Office (data of 2007)
18. Demographic Yearbook of Poland, 2012 (according to National Population Census 2011)

Warsaw Reports

Urban Policies on Diversity

Critical analysis of existing urban policy programmes and discourses in the case study area. Includes overview of political systems and governance structures, key shifts in national discourses, and approaches to policy over migration, citizenship, and diversity.

Governance Arrangements and Initiatives

Analysis of local governance arrangements and initiatives in the case study area that target social cohesion, social mobility and economic performance.

Work Package 5 Initiatives

Fieldwork Inhabitants

Analysis of how urban diversity and policies and arrangements affect different population groups living in cities in terms of social cohesion and social mobility.