The Silesian Voivodeship is inhabited by 4,645,665 people, which accounts for 12.2% of Poland's total population. The highest population density is in the Upper Silesian Agglomeration, where approximately 2 mln people live. But in a broader perspective, 9 mln people live within 100 km of Katowice - the region's capital - of which 4.6 mln are in Silesia. This results from the fact that such cities as Częstochowa, Opole, Ostrava, Bielsko-Biała and Kraków are located exactly within 100 km of Katowice. 78.2% of Silesians live in cities or towns.
In 2008, 65.5%, or 3 mln people, out of the total number of the Voivodeship's residents, amounting to 4.6 mln, were of working age. The majority of the employed (30%) consisted of people aged 25-34, followed by people aged 45-54 (27.2%), and people aged 34-44 (23.3%).
Restructuring processes in the region have been accompanied by the change within the employment structure, reflected by a decrease in the number of people employed in construction, mining and quarrying, as well as manufacture of basic metals, with a corresponding increase in the service sector.
As at the end of 2009, the rate of unemployment in the region was 8.9 %.
The highest proportion of the unemployed was observed in cities with the poviat rights.
- Częstochowa - 10,500 persons
- Sosnowiec -10,200 persons
- Bytom - 7,900 persons
- Zabrze - 6,600 persons
and in the poviats of:
- Zawiercie - 7,200 persons
- Częstochowa - 6,200 persons
- Będzin - 6,300 persons
In total, these unemployed people accounted for nearly one third of the total number of unemployed persons in the Voivodeship.
50,5% of the total number of registered unemployed persons are young people under the age of 34. Despite the fact that in recent years the number of registered unemployed persons decreased most among young people, the proportion of people under the age of 25 among registered unemployed persons is quite high, and amounts to 21.3%.
Among all registered unemployed persons, the most numerous group is composed by people with education at the level of basic vocational education - 27,8%, junior secondary school or lower - 27,4% and secondary vocational education - 24,1%. Nearly 11% has general secondary education, and 10% higher education.
In the first quarter of 2009 the unemployment rate in the region reached the level of 6.5%, which was 2 percentage points lower than the national average.
In the Silesian Voivodeship, the average gross retirement pays and pensions in the enterprise sector in November 2009 reached the level of PLN 3734.53, and was by PLN 330.61 higher than the national average.