The rural areas in Poland occupy 90.3% of the country. Over 15 million people (nearly 40% of the population of Poland) live in the villages. The accession to the EU has had a significant effect on the socioeconomic situation of the rural dwellers. The levels of schooling and educational activity have changed significantly and the life-expectancy of the elderlies has increased. Over the past two decades the changes in lifestyles have been accompanied by the development of information and communication technologies. The contribution of the agricultural sector, which employs only a certain number of people, to the rural economy has decreased. The above mentioned factors are important for the social change in the Polish countryside. Besides these problems, the paper analyses the social activity of the rural population. The main sources of information are the surveys conducted by the Institute of Economics of Agriculture and Food – National Research Institute.
Key words: EU, Poland, rural areas, population, social change