Hungary's population by ethnicity
For 95% of the population, mostly Hungarians, the mother tongue is Hungarian, a Finno-Ugric language unrelated to any neighbouring language and distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. Several ethnic minorities exist: Roma (2.1%), Germans (1.2%), Slovaks (0.4%), Croats (0.2%), Romanians (0.1%), Ukrainians (0.1%), and Serbs (0.1%).
The Roma minority
The real number of Roma people, known colloquially as "Gypsies", in Hungary is a disputed question. In the 2001 census, only 190,000 people declared themselves Roma, but experts and Roma organisations estimate that there are between 450,000 and 600,000 Roma living in Hungary. Since World War II, the size of the Roma population has increased rapidly. Today every fifth or sixth newborn Hungarian child belongs to the Roma minority. Estimates based on current demographic trends claim that in 2050 15-20 percent of the population (1.2 million people) will be Roma.Romas (called cigányok or romák in Hungarian) suffer particular problems in Hungary. Rampant poverty and a subsequent lack of education are the main origin of the bad position of the Romas. Racial prejudice compounds the issue. The traditional lifestyle of the Romas is often an obstacle to integration into society and it it a source of conflicts, especially in the villages. As a result, school segregation is especially acute, with many Roma children sent to classes for pupils with learning disabilities. Currently slightly more than 80% of Roma children complete primary education, but only one third continue studies into the intermediate (secondary) level. This is far lower than the more than 90% proportion of children of non-Roma families who continue studies at an intermediate level. The situation is made still worse by the fact that a large proportion of young Roma are qualified in subjects that provide them only limited chances for employment. Less than 1% of Roma hold higher educational certificates. Their low status on the job market and higher unemployment rates cause poverty, widespread social problems and crime.