Polish has been taken far and wide with many waves of emigration from Poland; it is spoken by roughly 43 million people in at least 50 territories. There was a big wave of emigration in the late 18th century, and for various political and economic reasons Polish people have tended to emigrate ever since, including another large wave after the Second World War.
Polish is spoken by most of the population of Poland, and by sizeable populations in Ukraine, the United States, Belarus, Lithuania, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Australia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Brazil, Argentina, Austria and Hungary.
Since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, many Polish people have worked in Western European countries. This makes the Polish-speaking population even harder to measure, as many of this recent wave of workers tend to return to Poland after a short period. Often where statistics are available, they relate to people of Polish descent who may be third or fourth generation, and it is difficult to estimate how many such people speak Polish as their first language.