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.