Although the 2001 census registered 2,571 Roma in Lithuania, it is estimated that the actual number is around 3,000. Roma live throughout the country, with largest communities in Vilnius, Kaunas, Siauliai, and Panevezys. The largest single settlement is in Kirtimai area in the outskirts of Vilnius. The Roma suffer from problems related to poverty, low educational attainment, large-scale unemployment, and social exclusion.
While there was some migration during the Soviet period, Roma in Lithuania by and large have a sedentary way of life. Part of current Roma community relate themselves to ‘Litovska Roma’ or ‘Polska Roma’, or Lithuanian and Polish Roma, some others relate themselves to Roma communities in Russia or other CIS states.
There were nearly 20 organizations of Lithuania’s Roma established throughout the 1990s. Just a few of them are active now. Low organisational capacities, lack of educated staff, and problems related to poverty are obstacles in self-organisation and development of Roma community.
Updated June 2015
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