Press Release

First ever EU-wide results on multiple discrimination experienced by minorities

Today the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is publishing its findings on multiple discrimination at the European Union agencies exhibition "The way ahead", held at the European Parliament. The findings show that people belonging to 'visible' minorities, such as Roma and people of African origin, are more likely to suffer multiple discrimination – that is, being discriminated on more than one ground - than other minorities. Another relevant ground for discrimination that could increase the experience of multiple discrimination are socio-economic factors such as living with a low income.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum: "Many men and women are still facing discrimination in the European Union - when at work, trying to find somewhere to live, or when they enter a shop. For example, when a North African Muslim woman is denied access to a female doctor in a hospital, she faces a problem not just because she is a Muslim or not just because she is a woman, but because she is a Muslim woman.

Most European courts deal only with one ground of discrimination per case. This means that victims of multiple discrimination find it harder to present their case in a court and be compensated for all the different types of discrimination suffered. Introducing the concept of ‘multiple discrimination' into legislation could as well help to better match the law and a person's every-day complex experiences of discrimination."

The results of the FRA survey show that one out of four ethnic minority or immigrant respondents in the EU had felt discriminated against on two or more grounds during the 12 months preceding the survey. Having an ethnic or immigrant origin emerged as the most significant ground for experiencing discrimination among the respondents who were surveyed. The grounds of discrimination surveyed are: ethnic or immigrant origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, disability, or "other" reasons as relevant for the respondents.

Within the framework of its EU-wide survey on discrimination of immigrants and minorities, EU-MIDIS, the FRA interviewed 23,500 people with an ethnic minority or immigrant background in all 27 EU Member States. Key questions on grounds of discrimination are comparable with results from a Eurobarometer survey of the majority population.

  • Those from ethnic minorities are on average almost five times more likely to experience multiple discrimination than those from the majority of the population.
  • ‘Visible minorities' - those who generally look different from the majority population - feel discriminated against more often and across a larger number of grounds as compared to other minorities. For example, Roma and people of African origin are more likely to experience discrimination than former Yugoslavians, those with a Russian background, and Central and East Europeans.
  • Gender and age can have an impact on how likely a person is to suffer discrimination: for example, young ethnic minority/immigrant men tend to report high levels of discriminatory treatment.
  • Some 46% of respondents who experience discrimination on different grounds were concentrated in the lowest income quartile recorded for their EU Member State.


The Fundamental Rights Agency publishes its first report on multiple discrimination:

EU-MIDIS Data in Focus 5: ‘Multiple Discrimination' (February 2011)

This report focuses on perceptions of multiple discrimination experiences by respondents of ethnic or immigrant origin, compared with the general population.

The FRA has also analysed multiple discrimination as a part of its reports on:

For further information please contact the FRA Media Team
Tel.: +43 158 030 642

Notes to editors:

  • Defining multiple discrimination: the term ‘multiple discrimination' can be understood as meaning discrimination on more than one ground in any given situation or time.
  • This EU-MIDIS Data in Focus 5 report contributes to the development of knowledge in the EU with respect to the experience of multiple discrimination which, to date, is under-researched in comparison to work addressing discrimination on single grounds.
  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is mandated to provide evidence-based advice to decision-makers in the EU. The Agency's evidence aims to inform EU and national policy makers and to contextualise debates on fundamental rights in the European Union.