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Roma Myth - Don't feed the false belief that you feed mainly Roma!

Every fifth euro goes to a pensioner, railroads and highways consume 7-times more public resources than family benefits. To support farmers, Slovak citizens spent 3-times more than on benefits in material need.

Despite these facts, many Slovak citizens believe that benefits received by Roma minority are the main cause of high taxes and budget deficit can be solved by their restriction.

That is not true. We call these popular stereotype a Roma myth, because it is incorrect and people attribute it a miraculous power to heal public finances to this myth.

This webpage and publication have a goal to correct the facts about social benefits for Roma. Stripping the myth of its „miraculous power“ will help us to focus on solving the base of the problem.


The study Roma and Social Benefits

obalka1. Roma issue is primarily social, not fiscal (budgetary) problem. Fiscal costs to districts with two-thirds of Roma population contribute to 2.2 % of public expenditures (€ 578 million). That approximately equals the sum of what the government spends inefficiently on public procurement or public transfers, according to website plytvanie.sk.

2. Benefits in material need represent less than 1% of Slovak public expenditures (approximately € 270 million) and includes both Roma and majority population.

3. Families with more than 3 children receive less than € 27 million a year on benefits in material need. This equals the sum that has been assigned for construction of National football stadium.

4. Families with more than 3 children receive € 45 million a year in child benefits and parental allowance. Likewise in the case of benefits in material need it is only a drop in the ocean of public finance; government would have to cut 45-fold of this sum to balance the budget in 2014.

Despite popular stereotypes, the study destroys the myth that Roma minority is the cause of the problems of Slovak public finance. Overall yearly fiscal expenses on „Roma“ counties account for less than one half month expenses of Social Insurance Agency on pensions. Resources paid to multiple-child families are even more marginal, reaching only a fraction of this sum. Roma minority problem is not a fiscal, but a social issue and solutions have to been searched in this field. .

Publication (2016 version) can be freely downloaded here. Excerpt can be downloaded here. Slovak version can be downloaded here.


Slovak authorities have no evidence of social benefits recipients with relation to their ethnicity. Therefore i tis not possible to find the exact sum of benefits received by Roma minority. Therefore we created methodology, which enables to create qualified estimate of this sum and brings more light into the discussion about Roma and social benefits.

We used two proxies. One proxy is a multiple-children family, represented by a family of 5 or more kids. Large families are predominantly viewed by public as mainly belonging to the Roma minority. The second proxy are counties with largest Roma minority in Slovakia. We analyzed benefit streams going to multiple-children families and to counties with large Roma minority.

About the Project

The study Roma and social benefits would not exist without the portal www.priceofthestate.org. This portal is our key tool for education about the relationship between citizens and state. during our high school lecture tours, Slovak students often showed strong belief, that Roma minority benefits are a key issue of public finance,

Therefore INESS decided to actively destroy this false myth. Thanks to Open Society Foundations support we prepared the study, which estimates the value of all possible social benefits going to Roma minority recipients. The results of the study are being actively presented to media and various stakeholders.

The video, which helps us to bring down the Roma myth, would not be possible without the help of Mayer/McCann Ericsson agency. They came up with ideas and provided great results with small budget.

Contact persons:

Radovan Ďurana, radovan.durana[at]iness.sk

Robert Chovanculiak, robert.chovanculiak[at]iness.sk