The Roma

The Roma are one of the traditional cultural minorities of Finland. They have been part of Finnish society since the 15th century.

An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Roma live in Finland, while several thousand live in Sweden.

The Finnish Roma have their own cultural heritage and language. About one third of the Roma population in Finland speak Finnish Kalo, a northern dialect of the Romani language family. Kalo has been identified as an endangered language. Over the past 50 years, the number of people who speak it has decreased by an estimated 40%.

The status of the Roma as a national, traditional minority is safeguarded in the Constitution. Such minorities have a statutory right to maintain and develop their language and culture.

Research data promotes the well-being of the Roma population

Within the Roma population, levels of well-being vary considerably. The Roma’s socio-economic situation places them in many ways on an unequal standing:

  • They have a lower level of education and housing than the general population.
  • There is more poverty and unemployment among them.
  • Low socio-economic status increases morbidity and mortality and impairs functional capacity.

The well-being and health of the Roma can be promoted by reducing structural inequalities and by improving employment, education and housing.

Research data on the well-being and health of the Roma population is needed to enable the right measures to be taken to improve living conditions. The needs of the Roma population are not considered separately in studies mapping the well-being and health of the entire population.
See the measures for the Finnish National Policy on Roma 2018–2022 (ROMPO2).

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare carried out a Roma well-being survey (Roosa) in conjunction with the FinHealth 2017 population survey.
Romanien hyvinvointitutkimus (Roosa)Romanien hyvinvointitutkimus (Roosa) (In Finnish)
Suomen romaniväestön osallisuus ja hyvinvointi: Romanien hyvinvointitutkimus Roosan perustulokset 2017–2018 (Julkari)

The Roma community promotes their own health and welfare

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) serves as a partner panel for Roma affairs as part of the Expert Group for Cultural Diversity (MONET). The group shapes and implements development work related to the promotion of health and well-being and discusses research plans together with experts and representatives of the Roma population.

The health and welfare of Roma
Roma living conditions, inclusion and discrimination
The Roma in government services
Roma policy