Differences in literacy, education level, and healthcare attendance in two different Roma subgroups from Transylvania, Romania

DOI: 10.2478/amma-2023-0028

Background: Literacy and education levels were demonstrated to be low in the Roma population. The outcomes after the implementation of different educational policies, in different countries, were not properly assessed for Roma subgroups until now.
Aims: We aimed to study literacy, education level, and healthcare attendance in two well-defined Roma subgroups, compared to the majority population, in a specific Transylvanian rural region.
Material and methods: A non-interventional, cross-sectional comparative survey was conducted in 2016-2017 between two Roma subgroups and the general population, from a rural region in Transylvania regarding their literacy, education level and healthcare attendance.
Results: Illiteracy was 33.3%, 66.6%, and 4.2% in the Gabor, Lovari Roma, and general population (p < 0.001). 29.5% of the Gabors and 45.6% of the Lovari Roma did not attend any school, compared to 2.7% of the general population. Almost none of the Roma population attended school after finishing 8 classes. Healthcare service attendance was significantly lower for the Roma subgroups, and directly related to their education level. 32.7% of the Gabors, 28.3% of the Lovari Roma, comparing to 7.3% of the general population never attended the general practitioner (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Gabor Roma population had a significantly lower proportion of illiteracy and a higher school attendance than Lovari Roma group, but still illiterate by a high percentage. The Roma’s healthcare attendance was far lower than the general population’s, having been even worse in the Gabor group. Healthcare counseling was directly correlated with education level.

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