:: National context

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

Total population: 46,815,916 (National Census of 2011)

Main ethnic groups: Roma. There are Spanish Roma and foreign Roma (e.g., Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal). Spanish Roma are not officially recognized as an ethnic minority in the country.

Official data: No data (the National Institute of Statistics does not disaggregate data by ethnicity)

Non-official data: Between 725,000 and 750,000 (according to average estimate by European Union i.e. 1.57% of the total population). It is not specified if these data relate only to Spanish Roma or also include migrant Roma.

Poverty rates: Roma: 54% in extreme poverty (2013); 49% at risk of poverty (2015) and 31% live in absolute poverty than the total population (2015).

Unemployment rates – 57% are unemployed (2014); 57% are informally working (2014); long-term unemployment is 30% (2014); youth neet rate is 46%; street begging common among migrant Roma.

Education: One in ten 16-26 y/o never studied; 5% completes upper-secondary-school; drop-outs in school close to 65% (approximately at 12 y/o); school failure 5 times higher than non-Roma; Nearly 70% of Spanish Roma adults are illiterate.

Housing: 4% of Roma households live in slums and 12% in substandard housing; Roma with home property are less than 3%. More than 12% live in segregated neighborhoods; overcrowding of 2.44 more persons per room; 1% are homeless; 4% have no running water and 9% no electricity.


Life expectancy: 10 years less than non-Roma population (72.8 y/o)

Infant mortality: 3 times higher than non-Roma population

Roma’s perceived health status is comparatively worse than non-Roma groups with lower socioeconomic status.

Higher prevalence of infectious, chronic and silent diseases (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular, bone and joint diseases), worse oral and eye health, more traffic and domestic accidents, obesity, and worse mental health.

Roma women suffer sexual and reproductive health problems due to the tradition of early marriages/pregnancies and large families.

Significant inequalities in lifestyles, emphasizing smoking, activity limitation, and eating patterns.

Increased use of health services (e.g., GPs, hospitalization, emergencies) is due to the worse health status perceived by Roma. But, inequalities in access to health services that are not covered by the national healthcare system (e.g., dentist and optometrist).






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