According to official estimates, in Bosnia and Herzegovina live between 25,000 and 50,000 Roma people. They are recognized as the largest, most neglected and most vulnerable minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are recognized as the largest, most neglected and most vulnerable minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the conditions in which the majority of the Roma families in Bosnia and Herzegovina live can be characterized as a state of chronic, multidimensional poverty.
The gap between the Roma and the majority of the population, in terms of housing, employment, education, and healthcare, is very noticeable, and Roma women are in a particularly difficult situation.
Key indicators for Roma children show that these children are three times more likely to live in poverty than their non-Roma peers, five times more likely to be malnourished and twice as likely to be lagging behind in growth. The enrollment rate in primary school is lower by one third than among the non-Roma population, and the rate of immunization is only four percent compared to 68 percent among the majority of the population.
A Multiple Indicator Survey (MICS) of the Roma population for 2011 and 2012 in Bosnia and Herzegovina has shown that:
- The infant mortality rate among Roma is 24 per 1,000 live-born children, while the likelihood of dying before the age of five 27 per 1,000 live-born children.
- 21 percent of Roma children are of short stature, while eight percent of children are seriously lagging behind in growth.
- Only two percent of Roma children aged between 36 and 59 months are enrolled in organized early childhood education programs, while only four percent Roma children that are enrolled in the first grade of primary school attended pre-school institutions in the previous year.
- Only one-half of Roma children (47 percent) that are old enough to be enrolled in the primary school attend the first grade of primary school.
- Over one-half of Roma children aged between two and 14 years were exposed to some form of psychological or physical punishment by their parents or other adult members of their households.