According to Eurostat (European Statistical Office based in Luxembourg) Poland’s standard of living is now higher than Portugal’s and is about to reach the level there is in Spain. This is based on data showing that the average Pole’s individual consumption was 84% of the European Union’s average last year, compared to 83% the previous year. How these factors contribute to the overall quality of life in Poland? In this article, I will analise healthcare, education, cultural and recreational opportunities, and other aspects that for some people make Poland an attractive place to live.
Healthcare in Poland
One aspect of life that is often considered in discussions about quality of life is the healthcare system. Poland has a universal healthcare system that is funded by the government (citizens and their taxes to be more specific) and provides access to medical services for all citizens. So in general, the heathcare system in Poland operates in two ways: the public healthcare, in which medical services are paid for by the National Health Fund (NFZ in Poland) and a private healthcare system where patients can choose to pay out of pocket for quicker access to medical services.
The traditional method is expensive (in my opinion) and still results in long waiting times for specialist consultations or tests. On the other hand, the private healthcare system allows for faster access to medical services.
In Poland, everyone has to pay a healthcare contribution through the social security system to the National Health Fund. This contribution is a certain percentage of wages earned and is used to pay for health services and certain medicines for those insured by the National Health Insurance Fund.
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Some groups, like students and farmers, have their healthcare paid for by the government or special funds. The unemployed have their part paid for by labor offices. People insured by the National Health Insurance Fund usually don’t have to pay for medical expenses (except the participation premium).
However, there are some exceptions. For instance certain medicines that require covering the cost in full or adult dental care and sanatorium care that may have some costs for the patient.
Private medical operates on a monthly subscription basis with varying services included depending on the plan you choose. Every month, you pay a premium that guarantees access to medical information, primary care doctors, specialists, laboratories, and tests—or even surgeries. These packages can be purchased from insurance companies such as PZU, Compensa, Allianz Polska, AXA, TU Zdrowie, or Aviva. They can also be purchased from private medical clinics like Lux Med, Enel-Med, or Medicover. With health insurance, you can get medical care without having to pay out of pocket each time.
Once you choose to pay for private health care, please note that it is not possible to resign from public one. A monthly premium must be paid (either by you or your employer if you are self-employed). Private healthcare is always an additional option on top of the public system; hence, it is very popular.
How Much Does Private Healthcare in Poland Cost?
A basic private medical subscription that includes unlimited access to primary care doctors, pediatricians, and specialists like surgeons, neurologists, and gynecologists can cost around PLN 30-70 per month. More extensive packages can cost anywhere from PLN 150 to PLN 500. If your employer offers group insurance, it may be cheaper for you to join. In this case, the premium cost will vary depending on the company and the package chosen, and it can range from PLN 20 to PLN 350.
Cost of Living in Poland
Many people in Poland say that it can be a difficult place to live on a daily basis. They feel that expenses often don’t match up with earnings, and the cost of living, including things like renting an apartment, can be disproportionately high compared to the quality of life. However, despite these challenges, living in Poland is not that all bad. Lets have a look at the five most important costs of living in Poland, broken down by region. These costs include gasoline, food, and apartment rent.
It cannot be denied that fuel prices in Poland are constantly increasing. It is common to pay almost PLN 8 per liter of gasoline at a gas station. This situation also applies to diesel, as gasoline (ON 95) is about PLN 1 cheaper.
|January 2023 (PLN)
It can be challenging to analyze the cost of food because it is possible to spend a lot or save a lot depending on where you live and the choices you make. You can choose to buy expensive food or opt for tasty, inexpensive products that are still healthy and valuable. According to the data, the regions of Wielkopolska and Zachodniopomorskie tend to have the most expensive food, while Podkarpackie is the cheapest.
|Milk 3,2% 1L
|Chicken Brest 1kg
It is worth mentioning that due to the current inflation in Poland, the prices stated above are likely to be about 15% higher by the end of the year.
Education in Poland
Education in Poland is generally of high quality, and the country has seen significant growth in the area of science education in recent years. In a international study of education levels conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Poland ranked 5th in Europe (behind Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) and 11th in the world. It is worth noting that this ranking reflects the close relationship between the level of education and economic development.
Stages of Education in Poland
In Poland, compulsory education starts at pre-school (grade 0) and continues until the completion of 8 years of elementary school. Children can start it at the age of 6 or 7. It’s important to note that there are two concepts in Polish law: compulsory school and compulsory education. Compulsory school law says that you have to go to elementary school. It is called „podstawowa” in Polish, starts for children at age 6 or 7 and continues until age 14. Then the law of compulsory education comes in. It says that you have to educate yourself until the age of 18. However, the law does not specify which school you should attend or even if you should attend any at all. You may choose to educate at home.
After finishing elementary school, students in Poland can choose to attend high school, which is called „liceum” and lasts four years. High school includes technical schools (currently 5 years) and three-year trade schools (formerly vocational schools). These schools don’t give specific professional qualifications (except technical school) but they do prepare students for university. The learning process is intensive and focuses on subjects like math, science, and the humanities. High schools prepare students to take the matriculation exam (matura). Many high school graduates go to work, but the main goal of high school is to prepare students for further education.
University (High Education)
In Poland, there are different types of degree programs you can study, including bachelor’s, engineer’s, master’s, postgraduate, and doctor degrees. These programs usually last from 1 to 6 years and end with a degree. You can study at universities in full-time (daytime) or part-time (evening, weekend or online) mode. Daytime university studies are free of charge in Poland (except the private universities).
Please note that public universities in Poland usually provide much better education than the private ones. The specifics of the program depend on the major you choose. These studies help you get the skills you need for your future job. In terms of number, there are 349 universities in Poland, 130 of which are public and 219 of which are private.
Cultural and Recreational Opportunities in Poland
Cultural and recreational opportunities usually contribute to the overall quality of life in every place. Poland has a rich history and culture, with many museums, theaters, and other cultural attractions. Our country also boasts beautiful natural landscapes and outdoor recreational activities, making it a great place for nature enthusiasts.
Not only around major cities but across the whole country, you may find facilities like:
- theaters and music clubs
- landscape and national parks
- restaurants and pubs
- old city centers (old towns)
- game clubs
- sports facilities
- old castles
- post-war military structures
- salt, gold, and coal mines (museum)
- wooden churches
- palaces – check my guide to abandoned palaces in Poland
- botanical gardens and zoos
- beer breweries that can be visited
- lakes and forests
- Baltic Sea nad mountains
- ice rinks
- amusement parks
- swimming pools
- cable cars and ski lifts
- skiing resorts
- sailing possibilities
What Are The Most Visited Places in Poland?
Poland has a variety of attractions that attract tourists from around the world. Malbork Castle is one of the largest tourist attractions in the country and is also the most powerful medieval fortress in Europe. It was built for the Knights of the Teutonic Order between the 13th to the 15th century. The Neptune’s Fountain in Gdańsk is an interesting example of the perception of antiquity in 17th century art and is now a symbol of the city and its connection to the sea. The Old Town in Gdańsk also a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful old houses and streets.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp is a place that still attracts many tourists from around the world. It is the only death camp to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is another UNESCO World Heritage site and is an impressive labyrinth of chambers and tunnels carved out on 9 levels. It is the oldest operating salt mines in Europe, with a history dating back to the 13th century.
They are a popular tourist destination due to their history and the underground salt cathedral. The Hall in Krakow (Sukiennice) is located in the central part of the Main Market Square and used to serve as a marketplace. The Wawel Castle in Krakow is a museum and national art collection with a rich history and beautiful architecture. Kazimierz is the former Jewish quarter of Krakow and has a unique atmosphere and rich history. The Main Market Square in Krakow is the largest medieval market square in Europe and a symbol of the city.
The Wrocław Market Square is the largest old town square in Poland and one of the largest in Europe, surrounded by colorful houses and the Town Hall. The Royal Castle in Warsaw was the official residence of the Polish monarchs and is now a museum. The Salt Mines in Bochnia are
Housing and Accomodation Costs
How much does it cost to buy an apartment in Poland? On average, it cost around PLN 11,500 in Warsaw and more than PLN 10,000 per square meter in Gdansk or Krakow to buy an apartment on the secondary market in 2023. Prices of apartments in cities like Kielce and Zielona Góra, which previously had the lowest prices, have now reached around PLN 6,000 per square meter for a used unit.
Cost of Building a House: 100 m2, 140 m2, and 200 m2.
The approximate cost of building a simple, 100 square meter house is around PLN 350,000 net (just walls, widows, and roof). The cost of building a 140 square meter house will increase to approximately PLN 410,000. If you decide to build a large house (the cost of building a 200 square meter house), it will be around PLN 470,000. These amounts do not include the cost of purchasing land, connecting utilities, or hiring a construction manager. You will also need to finish the interior of the house, which will incur additional expenses.
The Cost of Renting an Apartment in Poland
Apartment rental prices in Łódź, Poznań, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Cracow, and Warsaw have definitely increased. Here is a table showing the cost of renting an apartment in these popular locations:
|Studio / 2023