2007 | 17 | 3-4 | 53-81
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Poverty, health and ethnicity. Experience of empirical researches in North-East Hungary

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The results of the empirical studies carried out in North-East Hungary is analyzed and compared with national and international results from literature in this study. During the last decade, the authors examined social and health status of the Gipsy/Roma people living in this region in the framework of several studies; two of them were carried out at county-, others at settlement-level. The results presented are grouped around three problems, which gives a chance for empirical testing of the hypotheses of other researches reflecting on these problems. The characteristics of the samples from Hajduboszormeny made it feasible to analyze the statements on the correlation between underclass situation and ethnicity, because the social indicators of Roma and non-Roma people were similar in most respects. The results proved the statement that poverty can be an ethnical feature, but not only the Roma can be described as underclassed. In our study we deeply analyze correlation of ethnicity and poverty; besides of income poverty, the authors touch upon housing poverty, deprivation in wealth and living conditions, and the problems of social-political poverty, as well. According to their findings, in the last years the general income per capita was 16 000 - 20 000 HUF among Gipsies/Romas living in this region, therefore more than 90% of them can be considered poor based on the relative poverty indicator. The health state was studied through the subjective health picture, utilizing the health-care system, satisfaction with care services and the list of most frequent complaints and diseases. The results showed that the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular disorders, gastric and duodenal ulcers, respiratory diseases, asthma and neurotic and psychiatric diseases are higher than among non-Roma people. In this study, the authors aspired to give structural and cultural explanation for the phenomenons under scrutiny, and also present possible correlations, although - because of the research methods specified above the study was focused more on the success of structural effects.
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