Change in fertility and childbearing practices among poor gypsies in post 1989 Hungary: the use of anthropology in demography

Judit Durst, Budapest University

This paper explores changes in childbearing practices among Gypsy (Roma) women in two small villages in Northern Hungary especially after the Transformation in 1989. The author benefited from several month of extensive ethnographic field work, archival research and survey data collected in the settlements, where 80 percent of the inhabitants is Gypsy. Among the poor Roma opposite to non-Roma dwellers and to the “upwardly mobile” Roma villagers the fertility has a cyclical tendency:it has fallen during the 1970s and 1980s, meanwhile from the beginning of the 1990s it has increased again. One of the most important factor behind the fertility increase among the poor Gypsies is the proliferation of the births to teenage mothers. However for cultural reasons, there is a big difference between the Gypsy teenagers’ and those of the non-Gypsy Hungarian poor’s and e.g. those of the ghetto-dweller afro-americans unwed adolescents's early childbearing practices.

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Presented in Poster Session 3