Fun Facts

The five US counties with the highest numbers of people with Polish ancestry were: 1 Cook (Chicago), IL, 2 New York, NY, 3 Wayne (Detroit), MI, 4 Erie (Buffalo), NY and 5 Milwaukee, WI. This isn't particularly surprising since these are areas in the industrialized north. Many immigrants found work in these cities. Now let's look at counties with the highest percentage of people with Polish ancestry: 1 Sherman (Loup City), NE, 2 Portage (Stevens Point), WI, 3 Nance (Fullerton), NE, 4 Presque Isle (Rogers City), MI and 5 Luzerne (Wilkes-Barre), PA . These are generally more sparsely populated areas where immigrants worked the land.

The above observation illustrates how different analyses of data gives different conclusions. Yes, in sheer numbers, cities have the greatest numbers of Poles. But remember that the cities also attracted many other ethnic groups besides Poles-- so the Polish contribution is "diluted" in calculating a percentage. The counties with high percentages of Poles have smaller numbers but fewer non-Polish so the percentages come out higher.

So while we may think of Chicago as a very Polish city, one could make the case that areas of Nebraska are more Polish!

The rankings are based on 1980 data and included in We the People: An Atlas of America's Ethnic Diversity by James Paul Allen and Eugene James Turner: Macmillan Pub. Co., NY