The Top 5 European Countries with the Highest Gypsy (Roma) Population
Percentage of Population
Sources: Council of Europe Roma and Travellers Division.
List Notes: Data is for the year 2008.
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It is now generally accepted by scholars that the Romani people of Europe are descended
from groups which left India around 1,000 years ago and began arriving on the territory
of today's European Union in or around the 14th century. Today, more than ten million Roma live in Europe, a large proportion of them in the EU (with upper estimates of over 16,000,000).
Canada has provided refugee status to large numbers of Roma from Central and
Eastern Europe, particularly from the Czech Republic and Hungary. Canada also
re-imposed visa requirements for Hungarian citizens, in order to stop Roma from
migrating from Hungary to Canada, and discussions about lifting the visa
requirement centred primarily around "seeking guarantees that Roma will not
migrate to Canada". Following the abolition of the visa regime for Czech citizens
in Canada in 2007, several hundred Roma from the Czech Republic have again
sought asylum in Canada.
Prior to the events of 11 September 2001 in particular, the United States resettled
several thousand Roma from Bosnia, including Roma from Bosnia threatened
with forced return to Bosnia by, in particular, the German Government. The
United States also resettled several hundred Roma from Kosovo who had
secured temporary protection in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
A number of countries in the OSCE region are likely or certain to have Romani or related
communities numbering over 100,000. These include Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania,
Serbia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United States, Russia,
the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine,
Germany, Albania, Moldova and possibly others. Of these, the following have Romani
populations of possibly or certainly more than 5 per cent of the population as a whole:
Bulgaria, Hungary, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and
Slovakia. In fact, in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia there are Romani communities
possibly approaching 10 per cent of the general population.
In recent years Romanian Roma have migrated especially, although not only, to those
countries with Latinate national languages similar to Romanian: namely Italy, Spain and
France. In Spain and France they join Romani communities of several hundreds of
thousands - over half a million in the case of Spain - although again not comprising
anywhere near the percentage total of the six countries mentioned above. Roma make up
around 0.64 per cent of the general population of France and 1.60 per cent of the
population of Spain. There is no reliable statistical data on Romani migrants in the United Kingdom. Possible data sources, such as the Worker Registrations Scheme, document nationality, but not ethnicity.
Top 5 facts sources: Study: Recent Migration of Roma in Europe by Claude Chan & Professor Elspeth Guild.
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