There are about 10 million Polish Americans, and they make up the 9th-largest ethnic community in the United States. Polish Americans played a major role in bringing freedom to Poland in past decades, including support of the Solidarity movement and Poland’s entry into NATO. Today, Polish Americans benefit from a special relationship between the U.S. and Poland.
The large wave of emigrants that came during and after the Solidarity movement brought a new vitality to Polish American life, both in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S. It has helped Polonia to be better-organized, and has also re-energized the business and cultural life of the Polish American community. The Chicago metropolitan area is, of course, the largest center of Polish American life—with most of the national headquarters of Polish American organizations, hundreds of smaller organizations, many major cultural institutions, a great many churches which offer Polish Masses, over 30 Polish “Saturday schools,” and thousands of businesses.