Survey of Roma and Travellers in six countries

Ipsos MORI were commissioned by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights to conduct a survey among Roma and Travellers in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The author(s)

  • Sara Grant-Vest Public Affairs
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A new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, based on research carried out by Ipsos MORI, highlights the poverty and discrimination experienced by Roma and Travellers in Western Europe.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) commissioned Ipsos MORI to interview over 4,500 Roma and Travellers across Western Europe as part of the Roma and Travellers Survey. The survey provides the first comparable data on Roma and Travellers’ experiences of fundamental rights in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The Roma and Travellers Survey report details the widespread inequality and discrimination that Roma and Travellers face and brings to light the resultant cycles of poverty and exclusion that many endure.

FRA Director, Michael O’Flaherty, said:

This report lays bare the shocking hardship too many Roma and Travellers endure in the Europe of today. Already labouring under inequalities pre-COVID-19, the findings serve as an urgent reminder of the need for governments and society to break the vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion

Key findings from the report include:

  • The life expectancy of Roma and Travellers is around 10 years lower than in the general population.
  • A quarter of Roma and Traveller children live in households that cannot afford to pay for essential living costs, such as nutritious food, heating, or rent.
  • Roma and Traveller children face discrimination in school, with almost a third of parents saying that their children have received abuse in school, while two thirds of Roma and Traveller children leave school with only lower-secondary education.
  • Fewer Roma and Travellers are in paid work compared with the general population. According to the survey findings, the employment rate is as low as 15% among Roma and Travellers in Ireland. Discrimination is a common reason cited for low employment rates, with almost a quarter of respondents saying they felt discriminated against when looking for work in the past year.
  • Roma and Travellers also experience health inequalities. Around one in 10 Roma or Travellers said they faced discrimination when accessing healthcare in the last year, while 36% of Roma or Traveller men said that they did not seek work because of their health.
  • Among those Roma and Travellers surveyed, 21% live in conditions of severe housing deprivation or do not have access to basic services such as tap water.
  • Almost half of the Roma and Travellers surveyed experienced hate-motivated harassment in the year before the survey, and 7% say they were physically attacked. Despite this, 93% did not report their incidents to anyone. Over half did not report because they thought nothing would happen if they did.

The survey findings should support policymakers at EU and national level to work with Roma and Travellers to tackle exclusion and poverty. In particular, the results indicate that the soon to be released EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation should include targets relating to improving quality of life, enhancing employment opportunities and boosting educational prospects for Roma and Travellers.

Technical note

On behalf of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Ipsos MORI conducted more than 4,500 interviews with Roma or Travellers across Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom from December 2018 – July 2019.

The author(s)

  • Sara Grant-Vest Public Affairs

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