The article presents the results of analyses covering the social, economic and demographic structure of Poland's non-farm rural population, that are based on the data provided by the National Census of May 2002. Special attention was given in these analyses to the non-farm rural population's breakdown into the groups of employed, unemployed and vocationally passive persons as well as to the structure of each of these groups according to the criterion of sex, age and the level of education. The structure of the group of employed persons was additionally analysed in accordance with the criterion of the main place of work and the status of employment (hired employees and self-employed persons), whereas the structure of the group of unemployed persons was additionally examined in accordance with the criterion of duration of the search for a job. All the analysed structures of the non-farm rural population were compared with the analogous structures of the urban population. One of the main aims of such comparison was to check and concretize the hypothesis that the non-farm rural population had a worse position on the labour market than the population living in towns. The results of the conducted analyses have proved this hypothesis to be true. Its correctness has been confirmed by the fact that: a) the employment index is lower for the group of non-farm rural population than for the group of urban population (33.1% and 41.2%, respectively, of persons aged 15 and over); (b) the rate of unemployment is higher in the group of non-farm rural population than in the group of urban population (31.0% and 22.1%, respectively); (c) the percentage of vocationally passive persons is higher in the group of non-farm rural population than in the group of urban population (48.6% and 43.2%, respectively, of persons aged 15 and over); d) the search for a job is longer in the case of the unemployed persons from rural areas than in the case of the unemployed persons living in towns (the search for a job lasted longer than 24 months for 27.7% and 24.5% of the unemployed, respectively). The presented indicators were clearly worse both in the case of men and women living in rural areas than in the case of men and women residing in towns. They were also worse for all the age groups of the non-farm rural population. On the other hand, the differences in indicators characterising the non-farm rural population and urban population were minimal or non-existent in the groups of persons representing the same level of education. The latter suggests that one of the main factors increasing the non-farm rural population's chances for employment may be the rise in the general level of its education, which is currently far lower than that of the urban population.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.