TO PROVIDE an analysis of the growth of the Roma population in Slovakia and to forecast its development by 2030 are the goals of a new book presented in the premises of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) in Bratislava on May 14.

Director of the Slovak Academy of Sciences’ Forecasting Institute (PÚ SAV) Martina Lubyová said that the new publication, entitled “Reproduction of the Roma Population in Slovakia and Forecast of its Development”, issued by the institute, is a result of direct cooperation between two institutions, the PÚ SAV and Infostat - Demographic Research Centre (VDC).

During the book’s presentation, its author Branislav Šprocha noted that the fertility rate of Roma women is much higher in all age groups than the rest of the Slovak population. The book confirms the fact that Roma women have their first child at a much younger age – frequently as young as 15 – than the majority population. In addition, a large part of Roma children are born out of wedlock. The analysis also shows a much higher occurrence of miscarriages among Roma women and relatively high neonatal and infant mortality. This especially holds true in segregated settlements as a consequence of the living standards in there.

“High fertility of the Roma population goes hand in hand with higher infant mortality,” Šprocha said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “At the same time, adult Roma die at a younger age than the rest of the Slovak population.” He added that the life expectancy of Roma men is about 6-7 years shorter than for the majority population. For women, it’s about 8-9 years shorter. The main causes of death of Roma adults include cardiovascular diseases, but also cancer and respiratory diseases.

Although the number of Roma in Slovakia will – according to the prognosis – increase, concerns that they will become a majority population in the future are unjustified, Šprocha opined. According to estimates, over 420,000 Roma lived in Slovakia in 2010 while their numbers should, according to the prognosis, increase to almost 590,000 in 2030. The Roma population lives mostly in eastern Slovakia and the southern districts of central Slovakia. Conversely, the lowest number of Roma live in the west of Slovakia and in the north-central region of the country.

“The main problem of coexistence with Roma is not their number, but their quality of life,” Šprocha concluded, as quoted by the Sme daily. Roma with an education beyond primary school are dying out, according to the author.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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