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Slovakia's Roma Communities Significantly Bypassed by Development

A Roma village in Eastern Slovakia; photo by Slawojar, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

A Roma village in Eastern Slovakia; photo by Slawojar, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

About 500,000 Roma, or roughly a little less than ten percent of the country's population, live in Slovakia today. Statistics show that they have been drastically bypassed by the socioeconomic transformation the country has undergone over the last two decades, including since its accession to the European Union in 2004. The Nation reports on the lack of development and integration of Roma communities in this and other EU countries:

A survey conducted by the United Nations in 2011 showed a sustained, alarming difference in socioeconomic indicators between Roma and non-Roma citizens in Slovakia.

The statistics are in stark contrast to what would be expected from an EU member state: Only 19 percent of Roma adults have completed secondary education, compared to 78 percent non-Roma. More than 90 percent of Roma live below the national poverty line, and their unemployment rates are as high as 70 percent – more than twice that of non-Roma.

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