The number of Roma in Slovakia could increase by more than half over the next 16 years, claims Branislav Sprocha from the Demographic Research Institute in an interview with SME daily yesterday.
Sprocha put the current number of Roma at around 402,000, while predicting this figure would spiral to over 640,000 by 2030, as the number of children being born continues to rise and people live longer. Sprocha claims that Roma living in shanty settlements are giving birth to four or five children, putting the numbers down to a lack of education and poverty.
It was always a problem getting exact figures on the true number of Roma in Slovakia and Sprocha pointed to a similar problem in the three years of research. Many of the women were almost ashamed to admit how many kids they had, and so would deduct one or two, so the exact numbers are difficult to obtain.
The infant mortality rate among Roma is three times higher than the national average, with twenty children in a thousand not surviving birth, compared to just six as the average. According to available data, Roma also live shorter (men 55, women 59.5), which is up to seven years shorter than the national average.