The 2021 National Population and Housing Census in Poland (Spis Powszechny 2021) will end soon. Participation in it is compulsory, and there are high penalties for not participating. How to participate in the census? When should I register? Please note, you as a foreigner living in Poland, have to register as well. Even if you don’t have a PESEL number yet.

The Census began on 1st April. The 2021 National Census of Population and Housing in Poland is the basic research and source of data in the field of population statistics, the purpose of which is to collect information on the state and structure of the population at a given moment in a given territory. The census is carried out every 10 years.

How to do it?

Allow me to present a short movie with English subtitles, made by GUS (Central Statistical Office), which shows the easiest way to submit your declaration for the Census. The easiest, which in this case is via the internet. Application is fully available in Polish, English, Ukrainian and Russian.

The census in Poland will end on 30th September. This means that there is less than 2 weeks left to submit your declaration. We have three options to do the inventory. We can do it ourselves by going to the website: nsp2021.spis.gov.pl. You need to log in using:

  • PESEL number and an individually defined access password (to define a password, enter your mother’s maiden name);
  • using a Trusted Profile, e-ID or electronic banking;
  • by entering an e-mail address and an individually defined access password. You can use this method, if you are a foreigners without a PESEL number.
  • I would like to remind you that the deadline on August 31st has passed, if a person has not had the possibility to fulfill their obligation on the Internet self-census (especially if due to the state of health) has to report this fact to the official statistics services.

Health condition and census.

“A person included in the census, who cannot fulfill the obligation to conduct an internet census, in particular due to their health condition or legitimate interest of that person, reports this fact to official statistics services by calling the publicly available census hotline number, no later than on 31 August 2021 “

Art. 15 sec. 5 of the Act on the National Census.

This phone number is: 22 279 99 99.

You can also be recorded by an enumerator (Rachmistrz) who can call you or conduct a direct interview by visiting you at home. Although we can still do it by the end of September, the enumerators have already started calling and visiting people who have not done it online yet. Please note that if an enumerator contacts you, you are required to answer the census questions. The phone call is also synonymous with the fact that the time to complete the census yourself is running out.

Enumerator, Rachmistrz… ekhm, who?

Census in Poland 2021 - The Enumerator
Census in Poland 2021 – The Enumerator

From 23 June 2021, census enumerators will start visiting respondents who have not yet submitted their declaration over the Internet, on the hotline or during a telephone interview. The enumerator who visits you (the respondent), to conduct a census interview may be asked to provide an official ID. Each accountant should have it with him/her and show it to the respondent at the request of the respondent.

The ID must contain the following information:

  • name and surname with a photo,
  • ID number and hologram,
  • the name and logo of the voivodeship census office,
  • signature of the person authorized to issue the ID,
  • the period for which the identifier was issued,
  • the information on the reverse in which voivodeship the enumerator is authorized to collect data.

In case of further doubts, you can use the other options for verifying the enumerator provided by the Central Census Bureau. You can do it, among others through a specially prepared application available on this website: Enumerator checkup.

The census enumerator will not ask about the respondent’s financial status, the value of items belonging to the household members, he will also not require official correspondence, e.g. from ZUS or banks, or private correspondence. The enumerator will only ask the questions that are written on the form. All respondents answer the same questions, they are not differentiated in any respect.

What kind of a questions can I expect?

  • personal data, as PESEL, full name, address.
  • check-in at the place of stay
  • family relations
  • real estate information
  • citizenship, language and religion
  • disability
  • work and education

If you would like to know more about, I strongly recommend to visit FAQ of Census 2021. On the bottom of FAQ census page, you will find detailed Instructions for Internet Self-Census with questions asked there. All documents are available in English as well. FAQ – census 2021.

What is a census in Poland needed for?

Census in Poland 2021 - Data Analysis
Census in Poland 2021 – Data Analysis
  1. The Ministry of Finance calculates the subsidy amounts for individual municipalities according to the size of the population.
  2. Statistics prepared by the Central Statistical Office (GUS) are determinants for creating the budget of local government units.
  3. In addition, they support analytical activities carried out by the National Bank of Poland.
  4. The Ministry of National Education shapes the policy in the field of education based on the demographic structure of the population.
  5. Also, the Ministry of Investment and Development plans the spatial development of the region.
  6. The Ministry of Health plans funds for health protection in individual regions of Poland.
  7. The Ministry of Agriculture plans a food policy based on data on the number of livestock and territorial structure of farms.
  8. The minister responsible for construction carries out the tasks of the state consisting in satisfying the housing needs, which is included in the National Housing Program.
  9. Rural communes use the results of the censuses to calculate water supply and sewage system indicators.
  10. Entrepreneurs prepare business plans on the basis of information based on the results of censuses.
  11. Polish and foreign investors are looking for new markets for the development of companies.
  12. The National Census of Population and Housing is the only reliable and complete study examining the religious and ethnic structure of the country.
  13. The Central Statistical Office. Officials prepare balances of the state and structure of the population.
  14. Poland, as a member of the European Union, benefits from EU subsidies. These subsidies are granted, inter alia, based on the size of the country and the size of its inhabitants.
  15. The number of seats in the European Parliament is related to the size of the population.

What is the penalty for not participating in 2021 Census in Poland?

As the Central Statistical Office explains, the court may impose a fine of up to 5,000 zł for refusing to participate in the census. It is so, due the article mentioned below:

“Anyone who, against his / her duty, refuses to perform the statistical obligation or to provide information in the census or other statistical survey, shall be subject to a fine”.

This is due to Art. 57 of the Act on Public Statistics

Penalties are also threatened for providing false information.

“Who, contrary to the obligation, provides statistical data inconsistent with the facts, is subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years”

Art. 56 of the Act on Public Statistics.

As Interia found out, “nearly 20 percent of Poles have still not completed the census form”. – Many Poles still have not taken part in the National Census, although it is everyone’s responsibility. Some refused to answer the counters’ questions. So far, over a hundred such cases have been brought to the courts – said the head of the Central Statistical Office, Dr. Dominik Rozkrut in an interview with the portal.

Summary of National Population and Housing Census in Poland

So, the first modern Censuses were carried out in Scandinavian countries (e.g. in Sweden in 1749). In the USA, the first censuses took place in 1790, in Poland in 1789, and in Russia as late as in 1897. At the beginning of the 19th century, the first censuses were also carried out in Great Britain, France, Prussia and Austria.

The first numerical information about the population of the Polish lands began to appear in the Middle Ages, incl. in the chronicle of Gallus Anonymus (about 1113-1116) and papal bulls, and from the 15th century also in the books of bishoprics. From the 16th century, the number of inhabitants began to be listed in state tax registers and royal inspections, prepared mainly for fiscal and military purposes. During the Enlightenment – the 18th century – church censuses were carried out by bishops.

So, nothing to be worry about. It is a regular part of being a citizen of any country on the world. In my case, it took me 20 minutes to submit the declaration for all my family via the internet, what saved me a lot of a potential troubles with officials, or even potential fine.

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Special thanks to Eamon Gosney, who has helped with proofreading of this article.


4 Comments

eoin doherty · 17/09/2021 at 09:35

So from reading this I may not bother doing it online and will wait for them to ring my doorbell. There’s no problem with this?

    Mateusz · 29/09/2021 at 15:05

    It sounds weird, but yes – if no one will find you.

Doris · 26/09/2021 at 10:14

It doesn’t allow foreigners who arrived Poland after March 2021 to go further in the application. Are they exempt??

    Mateusz · 29/09/2021 at 15:04

    Hey Doris – yes they are. If you came after March 2021, you are exempt from Polish census this year.

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