In 2021, within the framework of the general population census, the General Secretariat for Social Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty, of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, carried out a nationwide registry of the socioeconomic situation of the areas where Roma communities live.
The Peloponnese Region represents 7% of the country’s total Roma population with 8,800 permanent residents. However, in terms of the percentage of all areas of life of the Gypsies, the Peloponnese owns 17%.
How many are the Roma in Greece and where do they live?
According to the data from the aforementioned survey, the Roma population in our country amounts to 117,495 permanent residents and constitutes 1.13% of the permanent population of Greece. It is found in the 13 Regions of the country with the highest concentration rates in the Regions of Attica (25%), East Macedonia – Thrace (17%), Thessaly (14%) and Western Greece (13%).
In the 142 municipalities with a high concentration of Roma population, there are 462 housing areas. Of these, 266 are type I, II and III settlements and 196 are areas where they live dispersed. Type I settlements are “highly degraded areas”, where living conditions are unacceptable, with shacks, shacks and the absence of basic infrastructure. Type II settlements are “mixed camps”, where there are makeshift structures, huts, tents/huts, removable structures, that is, containers, with permanent infrastructure, generally for and partial use (water supply, electricity, road construction) and They are located on the periphery of populated areas.
Type III settlements are “neighborhoods” of permanent use, often in degraded areas of the urban fabric (mainly houses, regular construction – apartments or single-family houses and some removable constructions, that is, containers). Finally, the “dispersed” are, according to the investigation, a new category and refer to cases of coexistence within settlements. 10% of the Roma live in type I settlements, 40% in type II settlements, 30% in type II settlements and finally 20% of the Roma in Greece live in “dispersed”.
The age distribution of the Roma shows that 8.7% of the population is made up of people from 0 to 3 years old, 5.6% of people from 4 to 5 years old, 20% of people from 6 to 15 years old , 28.9% are between 16 and 29, 28.9% are between 30 and 64 years old, while only 7.9% are over 65, which demonstrates the low life expectancy of Roma.
In the field of education, research confirms the trend towards early school leaving after primary school and the progressive decline in participation at all levels of the educational process. Illiteracy among Roma is very high, reaching 77.9%, especially among the elderly.
The number of Roma children from 0 to 3 years of age who attend preschool education (infants, nurseries and kindergartens) is only 412 (8%). The number of Roma children between the ages of 4 and 15 who attend compulsory education (Preschool/Primary/Secondary) is 9,330 (66%).
Due to the fact that reasonable doubts arise as to whether the Regions and Municipalities take care of the access of Roma living in remote areas to schools, in the vast majority (85%) access to educational institutions is carried out without problems. On foot, when the schools are close to the Roma settlements, while in several cases the means of transport is the bus. There are also several cases in which the means of transport is a taxi or another means of transport chartered by the Regions or Municipalities.
“Early marriages” among the Roma
“Early marriages” are essentially marriages of Roma children or minors. This is the case of marriage or cohabitation, with at least one of the two “participating” persons being a minor, under 18 years of age.
Despite the fact that international and national legislative provisions prohibit the phenomenon of early and forced marriages, “early” or child Roma marriages remain a constant practice in Greece, but also in Europe.
In a recent survey by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), 2% of Roma girls aged 10-15 were in a “traditional ritual marriage” or cohabiting with a partner. According to the same European research, around 16% of Roma girls and boys aged 16-17 are legally or customarily married, usually married.
According to the answers to all the questionnaires in proportion to the population, there are “early marriages” at a rate of 97% in the total Roma population. This fact is observed “a lot” in 88%, “little” in 9% and not observed in 3%.
Roma employment and unemployment
The main forms of Roma employment are the following:
- Collection and sale of recyclables: 30.2%
- Street trade: 25.6%
- Retailers in flea markets: 13.4%
- Temporary Agricultural Work: 13%
- Sole proprietorships: 5%
- Agricultural work: 4.7%
- Technical and construction works: 3.9%
- Livestock exploitation: 1.2%
- Social enterprises: (COINSEP): 0.9%
- Musicians: 0.7%
Finally, 1.1% declared begging (begging) as a profession! We remind you that in 2018 the classification of begging as a crime was eliminated, understanding that a condition for an act to be classified as a crime must be unfair. From the previous data for Roma, it can be deduced that a large part is employed without the necessary conditions of job security or without tax obligations.
The employment of Roma varies from region to region. For example, in the Attica region, the Roma are mainly engaged in the trade in recyclable items, street trading, although there are also many street vendors. In the Region of East Macedonia – Thrace the main forms of employment of the Roma are: seasonal agricultural work, peddlers in street markets and agricultural work. Finally, the percentage of Roma registered in OAED – DYPA from 16 to 64 years old is 64%…
Rome of the European Union and third countries
In the last 30 years, in particular, many Roma from the European Union and third countries have settled in the country. According to the survey we mentioned, 48% of Roma foreigners in the country come from Albania. 29% from Bulgaria and 15% from Romania, two Balkan countries of the European Union.
There are Pakistani Roma (4% share) in Sofades and Tyrnavos Municipality. Afghan Roma (1% share of total) of foreign Roma combined with Roma of Albanian origin live in Patreon Municipality. Turkish Roma together with Roma of Bulgarian origin live in Alexandroupolis Municipality. Turkish Roma live in the Municipality of Athens, together with Roma of Albanian, Romanian and Bulgarian origin. The percentage of Turkish Roma in the total number of Roma foreigners is 1%. Indian gypsies live in Patreon Township (remember India is the birthplace of gypsies). The percentage of Indian Roma in the country is 1% of the total foreign Roma. Finally, Moldovan Roma in combination with Roma of Albanian origin live in the municipality of Florina (1% share).
The previous figures illustrate the estimated image of the Municipal Authorities. We do not know exactly how many foreign Roma are in Greece, nor what is the legal residence status in the country.
For what reasons do gypsies go to municipal services?
The municipalities that participated in this research identified the reasons why Roma resort more to services. This particular question had multiple answers and provided the possibility of simultaneous multiple response and free response options. According to the answers given, the main reasons why Roma use municipal services are the following:
- Presentation of applications for welfare and social inclusion programs such as the Guaranteed Minimum Income and TEBA (99.8%).
- Support for the issuance of renewals of the unemployment card as well as the presentation of an application for unemployment benefits (59.1%).
- Support for inclusion in training or employment programs of the OAED – DYPA (42.8%).
- Enrollment of children in schools (39.2%)
- Support for submitting applications to social structures and services, such as social tutoring, mental health structures and nurseries (30.3%).
- Support counseling for job placement and professional guidance (21.9%)
- Psychosocial support counseling (18.9%)
- Support in the presentation of applications for inclusion in the labor market (16.9%)
- Participation in information actions on preventive medicine and healthy living conditions (7.1%) and participation in creative actions to support employment and learning for children (4.5%).
What is the reason for the difficulty of the gypsies in social integration?
The main reason that hinders the integration of Roma is based on education. The Municipal Authorities estimate that the low educational level and high illiteracy, early school desertion and student desertion (54.1%) are the main reasons that delay the procedures carried out in this direction.
Also, according to the Municipalities, degraded living conditions, material deprivation in goods and services (45.6%) and low income tend in the opposite direction. The fifth reason in order is delinquency/criminality (29.4%).
Another serious reason for the difficulty of social integration of the gypsies is the impossibility of accessing information and communication technologies, which makes it difficult to process their transactions with the State.
Source: “National Register of Roma Settlements and Population (years 2021)”, where the tables in the article come from.
Edited by: General Secretariat for Social Solidarity and Fight against Poverty, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.