Roma in Hungary
Get Roma in Hungary essential facts below. View Videos or join the Roma in Hungary discussion. Add Roma in Hungary to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Roma in Hungary
Romani people in Hungary
Magyar cigányok
Magyarországi romák
Eight-spoked wheel flag used by Hungarian Romanies.svg
Variation of the Romani flag used by Hungarian Romanies
Total population
315,583 (census 2011)[1]
Estimates: 450,000 to 1,000,000[2][3][4]
Regions with significant populations
 Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County58,246[10]
 Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County44,133[11]
 Pest County20,065[12]
 Heves County19,312[14]
 Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok County18,935[15]
 Hajdú-Bihar County18,132[16]
 Baranya County16,995[17]
 Somogy County16,167[18]
 Nógrád County15,177[19]
mainly Hungarian (91-92% in 2001),[21]Romani
Roman Catholicism and Calvinism[20]

Romani people in Hungary (also known as Hungarian Roma or Romani Hungarians; Hungarian: magyarországi romák or magyar cigányok) are Hungarian citizens of Romani descent. According to the 2011 census, they compose 3.18% of the total population, which alone makes them the largest minority in the country,[22] although various estimations have put the number of Romani people as high as 5-10 percent of the total population.[6][8][23]

History and language


The Romani people originate from Northern India,[24][25][26][27][28][29] presumably from the northwestern Indian states Rajasthan[28][29] and Punjab.[28]

The linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of Romani language lie in India: the language has grammatical characteristics of Indo-Aryan languages and shares with them a big part of the basic lexicon, for example, body parts or daily routines.[30]

More exactly, Romani shares the basic lexicon with Hindi and Punjabi. It shares many phonetic features with Marwari, while its grammar is closest to Bengali.[31]

Genetic findings in 2012 suggest the Romani originated in northwestern India and migrated as a group.[25][26][32] According to a genetic study in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the ?oma, are the likely ancestral populations of modern European Roma.[33]

In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.[34]

Migration to Hungary

The date of the arrival of the first Romani groups in Hungary cannot exactly be determined.[35][36] Sporadic references to persons named Cigan, Cygan or Chygan or to villages[36] named Zygan can be found in charters from the 13th-14th centuries.[37][38] However, persons bearing these names were not Romani, and Zygan was not inhabited by Romani people in the 14th century.[37] Accordingly, these names seem to have derived from an Old Turkic[38] word for plain hair (sÿ?an), instead of referring to Romani people in Hungary.[39]

Romani orchestra in the 1890s, Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg)

Romani people first appeared in Hungary in the 14th and 15th centuries, fleeing from the conquering Turks in the Balkans[Note 1] Their presence in the territory of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary was first recorded in a chapter by Mircea the Old, prince of Wallachia, who held the Fogaras (F?g?ra?) region in fief as vassal to the Hungarian Crown between 1390 and 1406.[40][35] The charter makes mention of 17 "tent-dwelling Gypsies" (Ciganus tentoriatos) who were held by a local boyar Costea, lord of Alsó- and Fels?vist and of Alsóárpás (now Vi?tea de Jos, Vi?tea de Sus and Arpa?u de Jos in Romania).[40][35] Next, the financial accounts of the town of Brassó (now Bra?ov in Romania) recorded a grant of food to "Lord Emaus the Egyptian" and his 120[38] followers in 1416.[35] Since Romani people were often mentioned as either "Egyptians" or "the Pharaoh's People" in this period, Lord Emaus and his people must have been Romani.[38]

In the mid-18th century, Empress Maria Theresa (1740-1780) and Emperor Joseph II (1780-1790) dealt with the Romani question by the contradictory methods of enlightened absolutism. Maria Theresa enacted a decree prohibiting the use of the name "Cigány" (Hungarian) or "Zigeuner" (German) ("Gypsy") and requiring the terms 'new peasant" and 'new Hungarian' to be used instead. She later placed restrictions on Romani marriages, and ordered children to be taken away from Romani parents to be raised in 'bourgeois or peasant' families.

Romani people in Hungary, painted by János Valentiny

Joseph II prohibited use of the Romani language in 1783. The forced assimilation essentially proved successful. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the vast majority of the Romani population---who had settled hundreds of years earlier and held onto their customs and culture for a long time---gave up, even forgetting their native language.

20th century

During World War II, 28,000 Romani perished in Hungary.[41]

During the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, several thousand Hungarian Roma took part in the uprising, estimated as around 5-8% of revolutionary forces.[42] Among notable Romani figures of the Revolution was Gábor Dilinkó [hu], who fought in the Battle of the Corvin Passage and later on became an artist.


Romani minority in Hungary (2001 census), by locality
Romani minority in Hungary (2001 census), by county

Current demographic changes in Hungary are characterised by an aging, falling population while the number of people of Romani origin is rising and the age composition of the Romani population is much younger than that of the overall population. Counties with the highest concentration of Romani are Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg (officially 45,525 and 25,612 people in 2001, respectively),[43] but there are other regions with a traditionally high Romani population like parts of Baranya and the middle reaches of the Tisza valley.

Although they traditionally lived in the countryside, under general urbanization trends from the second half of the 20th century many of them moved into the cities. There is a sizable Romani minority living in Budapest (officially 12,273 people in 2001). The real number of Romani in Hungary is a disputed question. In the 2001 census 205,720 people called themselves Romani, but experts and Romani organisations estimate that there are between 450,000 and 1,000,000 Romani living in Hungary.[44][45]

Studies from the 1990s show that the majority of Romani in Hungary grow up with Hungarian as their mother tongue. Only about 5% spoke Romani and another 5% spoke Boyash as their mother tongue, with particularly Romani rapidly declining.[46] Boyash is a language related to Romanian and apart from loan words not related to Romani.

During World War II, about 28,000 Romani were killed by the Nazis in Hungary.[41] Since then, the size of the Romani population has increased rapidly. Today every fifth or sixth newborn Hungarian child belongs to the Romani minority. Based on current demographic trends, a 2006 estimate by Central European Management Intelligence claims that the proportion of the Romani population will double by 2050.[47]

County Romani population (2011 census) %
Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County 58,376 8.51%
Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg 44,738 8.00%
Nógrád 15,489 7.65%
Heves 19,467 6.30%
Somogy 16,794 5.31%
Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok 19,089 4.94%
Baranya 17,585 4.55%
Tolna 9,072 3.94%
Hajdú-Bihar 18,546 3.39%
Békés 9,541 2.65%
Zala 7,283 2.58%
Bács-Kiskun 11,327 2.18%
Pest 20,719 1.70%
Fejér 6,497 1.53%
Veszprém 5,336 1.51%
Komárom-Esztergom 4,371 1.44%
Csongrád 5,006 1.20%
Budapest 20,151 1.17%
Vas 2,685 1.05%
Gy?r-Moson-Sopron 3,511 0.78%
Total[48] 315,583 3.18 %

Integration problems

Young Hungarian Romani dancing

Though Roma have lived in Hungary for centuries, there are ongoing problems related to the Romani minority in Hungary, and the very subject is a heated and disputed topic in the country.

Whereas almost half of Hungarian secondary school students enroll in vocational secondary schools or comprehensive grammar schools, which provide better opportunities, only one in five Romani children does. Moreover, the drop-out rate in secondary schools is significant.[49] Slightly more than 80% of Romani children complete primary education, but only one-third continue studies into the intermediate (secondary) level. This is far lower than the more than 90% of children of non-Romani families who continue studies at an intermediate level. Less than 1% of Romani hold higher educational certificates.[50]

The separation of Romani children into segregated schools and classes is also a problem, and has been on the rise over the past 15 years. Segregated schools are partly the result of "white flight", with non-Romani parents sending their children to schools in neighbouring villages or towns when there are many Romani students in the local school, but Romani children are also frequently placed in segregated classes even within "mixed" schools.[51]

Many other Romani children are sent to classes for pupils with learning disabilities. The percentage of Romani children in special schools rose from about 25% in 1975 to 42% in 1992, with a 1997 survey showing little change; however, a National Institute for Public Education report says that "most experts agree that a good number of Roma children attending special schools are not even slightly mentally disabled".[52]

Much of the Romani population are quite poor. Currently,[when?] more than 80% of Romani children complete primary education. A study of sample schools, however, suggests that the drop-out rate among Romani is still almost twice as high as among non-Romani.[53]

Other examples

Chinese merchants in Hungary often hire Romani women to do work since they do not require high pay. No taxes or social security are present in these arrangements.[54] Intermarriage sometimes occurs with the Chinese and their Hungarian or Romani workers. These marriages do not occur with Chinese and other peoples at the same rate as with Hungarians and Romani.[55]

Violence between the majority and the Romani people

On 15 October 2006, a Roma mob lynched an ethnic Hungarian teacher in front of his two daughters in the village of Olaszliszka.[56]

Between July 2008 and August 2009, six Romani were killed and 55 injured in a string of racially motivated attacks in several rural Hungarian villages.[57] A group of four neo-Nazi men accused of committing the murders went on trial in 2011. All were found guilty in 2013 and three of them were given life sentences.[58] The trial was the subject of a film released internationally in 2014 called Judgment in Hungary.[59]

On 22 April 2011, a vigilante group called Véder? organized a training camp in the town of Gyöngyöspata. This created fear in the local Romani residents, and Aladár Horváth, leader of the Roma Civil Rights Movement, called on the Red Cross to evacuate the women and children. The Red Cross denied that it was an evacuation, stating the trip was requested by the Romani community for the Easter holidays.[60] The camp was eventually folded up on 22 April, and the members of Véder? left the area. Four days later, some of the members returned to Gyöngyöspata, resulting in a fight between the local Romani and the Véder? that left four people injured.[61]

Romani political representation

In Hungary, two Romani were elected to parliament as candidates of mainstream parties in 1990, but only one in 1994 and none in 1998. Currently, after the 2010 parliamentary election, there are four Romani representatives in the National Assembly.[62]

Between 2004 and 2009, Viktória Mohácsi, a Hungarian politician of Romani ethnicity, was a Member of the European Parliament, one of only a small caucus of Roma MEPs (another ethnic Romani member is Lívia Járóka). She was a member of the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), part of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party. Following the 2009 election, Lívia Járóka, a member of the Fidesz, is the only Romani representative in the European Parliament.[63]

Political parties

Hungarian Romani are represented by a number of conventional political parties and organizations, including the Roma Social Coalition (an organization consisting of 19 Romani organizations), the Independent Interest Association of Roma in Hungary (a new coalition, including the Lungo Drom, the Phralipe Independent Roma organization, and the Democratic Federation of Roma in Hungary) and others. The most recent addition is the Democratic Roma Coalition, established in December 2002 by three Romani organizations in time for the 2003 local elections.

Lungo Drom demonstrating on the anniversary of the 1956 revolution - 2013

National Gypsy Minority Self-Government (NGMS)

In Budapest, the district minority self-governing bodies established the Budapest Gypsy Minority Self-Government by means of indirect elections, and founded the National Gypsy Minority Self-Government (NGMS) with 53[] representatives. The two most famous[] presidents were Orbán Kolompár and Flórián Farkas.

Act LXXIX of 1993

An important legal regulation directly affecting the position of the Romani population in Hungary is Act LXXIX of 1993 on Public Education, which was amended in 1996 and 2003 to provide the national and local minority self-governing bodies with the opportunity of founding and maintaining educational institutions, and which defined the fight against segregation in schools as an objective.

Public opinion

The 2019 Pew Research poll found that 61% of Hungarians held unfavorable views of Roma.[64]

Notable people

Hungarian Romani music group Kalyi Jag in concert in Warsaw

See also


  1. ^ Yaron Matras, in Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, writes that the Romani migration from India could not have occurred until the second half of the first millennium A.C.E. - well before the Ottoman expansion.[1]


  1. ^ Hungarian Central Statistical Office Census Data 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  2. ^ "National Geographic". Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 21, 2006. Retrieved 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Breaking News, World News & Multimedia". Archived from the original on October 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b "In Hungary, Roma Get Art Show, Not a Hug". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Hungary's anti-Roma militia grows". 2008-02-13. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  12. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  14. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  15. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  16. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  17. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  18. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  19. ^ "Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved .
  20. ^ Like local Hungarians
  21. ^ Generality of Hungarian Roma people speak only Hungarian
  22. ^ "Összefoglalás és módszertani megjegyzések" (PDF) (in Hungarian). Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Retrieved 2011.
  23. ^ "Anger grows in Hungary over anti-Roma article". The Guardian. London. 8 January 2013.
  24. ^ Hancock 2002, p. xx: 'While a nine century removal from India has diluted Indian biological connection to the extent that for some Romanian groups, it may be hardly representative today, Sarren (1976:72) concluded that we still remain together, genetically, Asian rather than European'
  25. ^ a b Mendizabal, Isabel (6 December 2012). "Reconstructing the Population History of European Romani from Genome-wide Data". Current Biology. 22 (24): 2342-2349. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.10.039. PMID 23219723.
  26. ^ a b Sindya N. Bhanoo (11 December 2012). "Genomic Study Traces Roma to Northern India". New York Times.
  27. ^ Current Biology.
  28. ^ a b c K. Meira Goldberg; Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum; Michelle Heffner Hayes (2015-09-28). Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives. p. 50. ISBN 9780786494705. Retrieved .
  29. ^ a b Simon Broughton; Mark Ellingham; Richard Trillo (1999). World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. p. 147. ISBN 9781858286358. Retrieved .
  30. ^ ?ebková, Hana; ?lnayová, Edita (1998), Nástin mluvnice slovenské rom?tiny (pro pedagogické ú?ely) (PDF), Ústí nad Labem: Pedagogická fakulta Univerzity J. E. Purkyn? v Ústí nad Labem, p. 4, ISBN 978-80-7044-205-0, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04
  31. ^ Hübschmannová, Milena (1995). "Roma?i ?hib - rom?tina: N?kolik základních informací o romském jazyku". Bulletin Muzea Romské Kultury. Brno: Muzeum romské kultury (4/1995). Zatímco romská lexika je blií hind?tin?, marvár?tin?, pand?áb?tin? atd., v gramatické sfé?e nacházíme mnoho shod s východoindickým jazykem, s bengál?tinou.
  32. ^ "5 Intriguing Facts About the Roma". Live Science.
  33. ^ Rai, N; Chaubey, G; Tamang, R; Pathak, AK; Singh, VK (2012), "The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations", PLoS ONE, 7 (11): e48477, Bibcode:2012PLoSO...748477R, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048477, PMC 3509117, PMID 23209554
  34. ^ "Can Romas be part of Indian diaspora?". 29 February 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  35. ^ a b c d Kemény 2005, p. 1.
  36. ^ a b Fraser 1995, p. 60.
  37. ^ a b Kemény 2005, p. 2.
  38. ^ a b c d Kristó 2003, p. 245.
  39. ^ Kiss 1983, p. 147.
  40. ^ a b Achim 2004, p. 14.
  41. ^ a b "Unbekanntes Volk: Sinti und Roma. Texte zum Kennenlernen: Informationsheft fuer Jugendliche. Martha Verdorfer, 1995". Retrieved 2015.
  42. ^ "1956 cigány h?seire emlékeztek a Corvin közben". 2011-10-23.
  43. ^ "Népszámlálás 2001 : Nemzetiségi köt?dés -Központi Statisztikai Hivatal". Retrieved 2015.
  44. ^ Kimmelman, Michael (2008-02-06). "In Hungary, Roma Get Art Show, Not a Hug". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  45. ^ The Christian Science Monitor (2008-02-13). "Hungary's anti-Roma militia grows". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2015.
  46. ^ "A portálpályázatra beérkezett cikkek: I. helyezett". Retrieved .
  47. ^ Dudás Gergely (1999-01-01). "Index - Gazdaság - Romák a szegénység csapdájában". Retrieved .
  48. ^ "Hungarian Central Statistical Office". 2014-04-14. Retrieved .
  49. ^ Equal access to quality education for Roma, Hungary, pp. 208-209
  50. ^ "Roma tanulók sorsa a szegedi fels?oktatásban". Retrieved 2015.
  51. ^ Equal access to quality education for Roma, Hungary, pp. 187, 212-213
  52. ^ "Legislative review for the Hungarian roma education policy note". National Institute for Public Education. 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-07-12. Retrieved .
  53. ^ "Equal access to quality education for Roma, Hungary" (PDF). Open Society Institute, EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP). 2007. pp. 206-207. Retrieved .[dead link]
  54. ^ Pál Nyíri (2007). Chinese in Eastern Europe and Russia: a middleman minority in a transnational era (illustrated ed.). Psychology Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-415-44686-0. Retrieved 2011.
  55. ^ Pál Nyíri (2007). Chinese in Eastern Europe and Russia: a middleman minority in a transnational era (illustrated ed.). Psychology Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-415-44686-0. Retrieved 2011.
  56. ^ "Lányai el?tt verték halálra a gázolót" (in Hungarian). 16 October 2006. Retrieved 2015.
  57. ^ Verseck, Keno (23 July 2013). "Right-Wing Terror: Hungary Silent over Roma Killing Spree". Spiegel Online. SPIEGELnet GmbH. Retrieved 2015.
  58. ^ Nolan, Daniel (9 July 2014). "Disciplinary proceedings launched against Roma murders judge". The Budapest Beacon. Real Reporting Foundation. Retrieved 2015.
  59. ^ "Judgment in Hungary". TVO. TVO. Archived from the original on 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2015.
  60. ^ "Hungarian Roma flee homes fearing vigilante attacks". Reuters. 2011-04-22. p. 2. Retrieved .
  61. ^ "Véres tömegverekedés Gyöngyöspatán" (in Hungarian). 26 April 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  62. ^ "Négy cigány képvisel? lesz az új parlamentben". 2010-04-26. Retrieved .
  63. ^ "Járóka Lívia: fokozottan hangsúlyozni kell a n?k szerepét a romaintegrációban". Retrieved 2015.
  64. ^ "European Public Opinion Three Decades After the Fall of Communism -- 6. Minority groups". Pew Research Center. 14 October 2019.


  • Achim, Viorel (2004). The Roma in Romanian History. Central European University Press. ISBN 978-963-9241-84-8.
  • Crowe, David M. (2007). A History of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia. PALGRAVE MACMILLAN. ISBN 978-1-4039-8009-0.
  • Fraser, Angus (1995). The Gypsies. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-631-19605-1.
  • Kemény, István (2005). "History of Roma in Hungary" (PDF). In Kemény, István (ed.). Roma of Hungary. Boulder. pp. 1-69. ISBN 978-0-88033-600-0.
  • Kiss, Lajos (1983). Földrajzi nevek etimológiai szótára [=Etymological Dictionary of Geographical Names] (in Hungarian). Akadémiai Kiadó. ISBN 978-963-05-3346-1.
  • Kristó, Gyula (2003). Nem magyar népek a középkori Magyarországon [=Non-Hungarian Peoples in Medieval Hungary] (in Hungarian). Lucidus Kiadó. ISBN 978-963-9465-15-2.
  • Balázs Majtényi, György Majtényi. A Contemporary History ofExclusion: The Roma Issue in Hungary from 1945 to 2015. Budapest, Central European University Press, 2016. 244 pp. $60.00 (cloth),ISBN 978-963-386-122-6.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes