:: National context

Short overview of the situation in Bulgaria in terms of Roma population, their living conditions and main issues:

Total population of the country: 7 245 677 (Dec 2013)

Main ethnic groups: Bulgarians, Turks, Roma

Official data: Roma are 325 343 people

Non-official data: Roma are about 700 000 (8-10%)

Discrepancy in numbers is due to the fact that many Roma identify themselves as Turks, Bulgarians or other during census.

Poverty rates: Roma: 84.3%; Turks: 40%; Bulgarians: 31.7%. 

Unemployment rates - between 50% and 80%, depending on the definition of unemployment.

Life expectancy: Roma - 66.6 years, Bulgarians - 72.3 years.

The results of the poor living conditions, malnutrition, and lack of sanitation are prevalence of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis (rates are significantly higher among the Roma population). 

50% of the Roma families have a chronically ill family member, and 20 % have two.

The percentage of Roma with some kind of disability - 6 times higher than the Bulgarian population. 

The tradition of large families and early marriages places women and young girls at increased health risk. 

Segregation and isolation of the communities is an issue in many settlements although the Roma neighbourhoods traditionally are not away from the towns and villages but inside them. 

Education: increasing rates of illiterate, low-educated and uneducated people due to parent's attutudes towards education, segregation in schools, problems of the education system. 


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