Social status is often determined by ethnicity in Bulgaria. Ethnic minorities and the Roma population in particular are among the most disenfranchised. Living on the edges of society, the Roma have little access to state services and are discriminated against in the employment market.
Did you know?
65% of the Roma are unemployed and in some regions this figure reaches 80%.
Only 10% of the Roma complete high school education.
18% of all Roma are illiterate.
The number of infants placed in state care is one of the highest in Europe, and continues to increase.
Only 5% of Roma people reach the age of 65.
The Roma community today
There is a general misconception regarding Gypsies that they are all travelling communities. The reality, in post communist countries, is that although some people may move following seasonal work, they often return to a settled home.
During the communist era, for the purpose of control, Roma communities were settled in areas on the outskirts of towns or other unpopulated areas. This is where you will now find most Romani people today – inhabiting these ‘ghettos’ with no running water, no electricity and no sewage system.
The obvious consequences of living in such conditions is a general lack of hygiene that means children are socially excluded at school, while adults are refused treatment in hospitals and find it almost impossible to gain employment. They are caught in a vicious circle of illiteracy, poverty and unemployment.