The Roma Community

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Demography and Health[editar]

The health situation of the Roma is particularly troubling: a recent study undertaken within the framework of the EU’s Public Health Programme reported that 15% of the European Roma population is suffering from a chronic illness or disability, while access to healthcare remains inadequate: 32.5% of those Roma persons surveyed had never seen a dentist, while close to 40% of Roma women aged 16 and over had never been to the gynecologist (15.9%) or had never gone for reasons other than pregnancy (23.9% ).

This data is congruent with a 2012 survey of Roma living conditions by the FRA, which showed that one out of three Roma respondents aged 35 to 54 report health problems limiting their daily activities. The systematic difficulties encountered by Roma in accessing health services are in part conditioned by geographical segregation and discrimination. They also explain the fact that on average, about 20% of Roma respondents are not covered by medical insurance or do not know if they are covered.

The health status of Roma persons conditions their life expectancy and their demographic makeup. The European Roma population is significantly younger than the overall population (an average of 25.1 years old in seven member states, compared to 40.24 years in the EU-27; 62.4% of the Roma population is under 29 years old, compared to 35% in the EU-27). Although exact figures are unavailable, the average life expectancy of Roma is estimated by the UNDP to be significantly lower than the overall EU population (around 63 years old in Romania). Only 2.7% of the Roma population is above 65 years old, while the elderly rate reaches 17% in the EU-27. The child dependency index is 57.77 compared to 23.33 in the EU, while the elderly dependency index reaches 4.11, starkly lower than the EU-27 (24.93). Despite a gradual decline in birth rates among Roma, the replacement index (reflecting the population between 15 and 39 for every 100 people aged 40 to 64) remains significantly higher among Roma (231) than for the overall population (101).

As pointed out by the European Commission, the fact that the Roma populations include such a large proportion of young people and children increases the urgent need to break the vicious circle of inter-generational transmission of poverty and severe social exclusion.