Roma Poverty and Deprivation: The Need for Multidimensional Anti-Poverty Measures

Reliable data and robust conceptual framework are two necessary preconditions for anti-poverty measures need to be effective and achieve their goals – bringing people out of poverty. Both preconditions are far from met in the case of Roma – one of the biggest minorities in Europe. Data on the absolute number and distribution of Roma population in the EU is patchy, incomparable – or does not exist at all. Thus addressing the data challenge is a necessary precondition for populating indicators that reflect the true face of Roma poverty – are ultimately, for the efforts to take Roma out of poverty to succeed. In its first part, the paper provides an overview of the available approaches and the possible sources of information that can generate the data necessary for monitoring different aspects of Roma inclusion process. The authors point out that different sources have their strengths and weaknesses and using them in complementary manner is desirable. How to use the data (what indicators to apply) is equally important. In its second part the paper proposes a multidimensional poverty index that is better reflecting the specifics of Roma poverty and exclusion than traditional poverty or vulnerability indicators. However two critically important dimensions remains insufficiently covered – namely ‘agency’ and ‘aspirations’. The authors call for reflecting these dimensions through the thematic components in the standardized European social surveys.

Citation: Ivanov, A., Keller, S., and Till-Tentschert, U. (2015). “Roma Poverty and Deprivation: The Need for Multidimensional Anti-Poverty Measures.” OPHI Working Papers 96, University of Oxford.