Only 2 in 10 Romanians would accept family members of other ethnicity

Only two out of ten Romanian would accept family members or friends of other ethnicity, according to a study commissioned by the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, which focuses on the perception of the Holocaust in Romania and inter-ethnic relations.

Using the Bogardus social distance measurement scale, where 1 is the closest accepted relationship with a minority (family member) and the 7 is the farthest (should not come to Romania), the study found that Romanians have a higher tolerance when it comes to Jews (3.4) and Hungarians (4.1), but are not that tolerant when it comes to Roma (4.8) or Arabs (5).

However, these differences change based on the respondents’ area of residence. Thus, the Arabs are less tolerated in rural areas (5.1), the Roma are less tolerated in urban areas, while the Jews and the Hungarians have obtained equal scores between urban and rural tolerance.

The study also found that the share of Romanians who believe that the Arabs should not come to Romania has increased to 24% from 18% in 2015. Moreover, only 12% of respondents would accept Hungarians as neighbors, down from 16% in 2015. On the other hand, 10% of Romanians would accept Roma people in their group of friends, up from 7% in 2015.

In 2017, fewer Romanians perceive Roma people as being a threat to Romania (16% vs. 21% in 2015), but one third of respondents still believe that they represent a problem. On the other hand, the Jews, Hungarians, Germans and other minorities benefit from a less positive opinion compared to two years ago.

The Jews are perceived in a rather neutral way, being neither a problem nor an advantage for Romania, according to the study. Although 16% of Romanians believe that this minority also brings benefits to Romania, there is a significant decrease in the proportion of people who consider Jews to be a valuable resource for the country (8% vs. 11% in 2015).

Six out of ten respondents believe that minorities have the same rights as other citizens of Romania. However, there is a significant increase in the percentage of Romanians claiming that Jews, and especially Roma, enjoy more rights than Romanians (19% compared to 13% in 2015).

The study was carried out between September 14 and October 6 on over 1,000 people. Find the entire study here (in Romanian).

Irina Marica, [email protected]