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Indicators of disadvantaged children: the case of Roma children Leonardo Menchini – UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR CHILD INDICATORS.

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Presentation on theme: "Indicators of disadvantaged children: the case of Roma children Leonardo Menchini – UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR CHILD INDICATORS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indicators of disadvantaged children: the case of Roma children Leonardo Menchini – UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR CHILD INDICATORS Inaugural Conference Chicago, 26-28 June 2007

2 2 Background In 1992 the UNICEF ICDC (IRC) started the MONEE PROJECT “Public Policies and Social Conditions: Monitoring the Transition in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS”, releasing each year the TransMONEE database Innocenti Social Monitor 2006 “Understanding child poverty in South- Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States”: need of a new approach in monitoring the conditions of children in CEE/CIS 2007: project MONEE 15 (new challenges in monitoring the condition of children in CEE/CIS) and project “Making children visible in routine surveys”

3 3 The situation of Roma children in Central and Eastern Europe Poverty among Roma is one of the most pressing issues in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe In most of the countries of this region, extreme poverty and deprivation are concentrated in Roma population. Roma benefited only marginally of the recent period of (sustained) economic growth: their relative position compared to the other groups of the population deteriorated. Children represent a large share of the Roma population, and they are particularly vulnerable to poverty and different kinds of material and immaterial deprivation. In order to develop policies that target the most disadvantaged groups of Roma children, a comprehensive knowledge of the situation of these children is necessary. Lack of data hampers the understanding of the situation of Roma people and Roma population.

4 4 Some data on Roma children disadvantage /1 Bulgaria, 2001 – Distribution of children across expenditure deciles, by ethnic group Extreme income poverty rate (under 2.15$PPP) in Bulgaria 2001: ROMA children: 49% Bulgarian children: 2% Roma children represented two third of the total number of children living in extreme poverty. They represented 18% of the total child population

5 5 Some data on Roma children disadvantage /2 Health and education Serbia - 2005 Infant mortality for Roma in Roma settlement 25 per thousand (MICS 2005) Infant mortality – total Serbia 8 per thousand (WHO 2005) Bulgaria – 2001 LSMS Basic school attendance rate of Roma children 7-1475% Basic school attendance rate of non Roma children 7-1497% Upper secondary (15-17) attendance – Roma35% Upper secondary (15-17) attendance – non Roma90%

6 6 Some data on Roma children disadvantage /3 NationalityShare of children in Special schools % Slovak85.5 Romani7.6 Hungarian6.7 Czech, Moravian, Silesian0.2 Roma children are over-represented in Special Needs Schools in Slovakia Source: MoE Slovakia Placement in special needs schools is used in some locations as a mean of segregating Roma children in education

7 7 Some data on Roma children disadvantage /4 Housing /Serbia 2003 Living conditions in Roma settlements

8 8 Some data on Roma children disadvantage /5 Housing type – Slovakia – UNDP report Housing typeRoma HouseholdsHouseholds of general population in nearby areas Individual brick house50.3%72.7% Apartment in a new house 18.3%18.6% Wooden house5%0.3% Housing built from different materials (shack) 12.1%0.3%

9 9 Very few data on Roma and Roma children are available in CEE countries Research and analysis on the situation of Roma children are hampered by the lack of data or representative data. Lack of adequate monitoring. Lack of data seriously hamper the ability of the states to target, implement and monitor measures to improve the living conditions of Roma and combat discrimination. The difficulty starts from the lack of reliable data on the size of the Roma population – a huge difference exists between official data and other estimates.

10 10 Estimates of the Roma population Data from Open Society Institute, 2006 Roma people represent between 1 to 10 percent of the population of the CEE countries, but a larger share of the child population

11 11 Extremely different population structures between Roma and other groups of the population malesfemales malesfemales Roma in Serbia 2005Serbia 2005

12 12 The demographic differences Bulgaria - 2001 Roma represent 7% of the total population But Roma children account for 18 per cent of all children Household size – non Roma2.8 members Household size – Roma4.8 members (5.6 if only hh with children) Only 24% of Roma households do not include children (66% of non- Roma hh do not include children) Circa 40 per cent of Roma population were under 18 year old. (children represent less than 20 per cent of the tot. pop. in Bulgaria)

13 13 Data collection issues Official estimates are mainly based on Censuses. Censuses collect information on ethnicity based on self-identification. But only a limited share of Roma people identify themselves as Roma (in part for fear of discrimination). Many governments refuse to include Roma as a category for census purposes. Most of the data collected for administrative purposes do not include disaggregation by ethnic groups. When administrative data include information on nationality, they are based on self-identification (in Slovakia, labeling administrative records about Roma was frequent in the past – administrative labeling creates potential discriminatory misuse of collected data and grossly violated individual rights)

14 14 Alternatives to data disaggregated by ethnicity? The alternative to ethnic disaggregated data could be the use of non- ethnical categories to identify the more disadvantaged group of the child population (for example children living in large families, children whose parents are jobless etc.) This alternative can work only if there is no ethnic dimension in connection with child deprivation, discrimination and segragation. This is not the case of Roma children, where ethnicity is connected with discrimination and social exclusion (for example discrimination in access to basic social services, access to benefits, participation to the labour force, school and housing segregation etc.)

15 15 Data collection on ethnicity – self declaration Self-declaration of ethnicity is a fundamental right issue The reasons for declaring a distinct ethnicity are in a continuum going from undeveloped ethnic awareness to fears of discrimination. At least some Roma people do not identify themselves with the Roma minority and, at least in part, they wish to be as close as possible to the majority population. There is a patchwork of various Roma group defined differently by cultural criteria, heritage and level of integration. Moreover, multiple identity (ethnicity, nationality, citizenship…) Combination of ethnic, socio-economic, behavioural and outsider identification markers

16 16 Conclusion Inclusion of a question on ethnicity in sample surveys Roma over-sampling in surveys to obtain representative results Involvement of Roma communities in the data collection process (in particular for censuses) Support Roma self-identification of ethnicity (protecting against discrimination), respecting the wishes of Roma as to the designation they want to be given. issue of birth registration – possession of document for access to social services – but not labeling

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