Putting an End to the Myth that Roma Families Drain Slovakia’s Welfare System

One of the most pressing social issues in Slovakia is the widely held public opinion that Roma families are abusing the social system. This perception can be difficult to combat since Slovakia doesn’t track beneficiaries by ethnicity. Yet, as in so many cases, the best way to refute this assumption is with hard data.

To bring such data to the forefront, the Institute of Economic and Social Studies published the analysis Roma and Social Benefits, which implemented techniques to identify Roma beneficiaries. There is a common assumption that Roma people have large families, so we evaluated the proportion of public resources supplied to families with more than four children. We also examined the absorption of benefits by Slovakia’s “Roma” districts—districts that are at least two-thirds Slovak Roma, as identified by the Atlas of Roma Communities in Slovakia [PDF].

Through our analysis of this data, we came to the conclusion that the Roma issue is primarily a social problem, not a fiscal one. Spending on Roma districts contributes to only 2.2 percent of public expenditures (€578 million), and families with more than three children receive less than €27 million per year in material need allowances—a sum equal to the funding earmarked for the construction of a national football stadium.

To correct the public’s misperception of this issue, we created the short video above, the Slovak version of which can be found here.

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Excellent! We need responsible goverments to take the same initiative and share such information at the national level in all member states. You can't create a scapegoat if you communicate that the real cost is less than the equivalent of what is earmarked for a national football stadium. In France, the cost of expulsions is higher than the cost of providing housing, schooling and medical care. We have the data, we should use it, over and over again. Thank you!

Furthermore, when you look at how much money is wasted by sending Roma kids to special schools in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, paying more for Roma kids to receive a lesser education, you can see the effect on GDP is a negative investment.....pay more now to cripple a segment of your population to disempower them from seeking employment, making them dependent on benefits and continue paying more in the future. This is a real crime. If you could show that even that amount spent of benefits is less than another construction project, then you can start asking questions that will allow citizens to really follow the money.

Excellent. a very simple message, supported by honest informaiton! does a similar short video exist for the same misheld perception in England? (that taxes are used to support families or immigrants who have never worked and who 'cheat' the system/don't contribute?)

Hi Charlotte & Bill,
You both bring up some very good points. We are looking to bring all this information to the forefront by visualising public money. You can read more about it here and start making your our visualisation now. http://wikibudgets.org

Charlotte. If not, you can make one urself. It sounds like a fun day, Maybe I check some stats for Sweden (because there are the same prejudists) and make a video. Sounds like a nice fun productive day.

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