Promising Practice

Statistical Working Group On Roma Population

Gruppo Di Lavoro Statistico Informativo Sulle Popolazioni Rom, Sinti e Caminanti
In 2017, the Italian National Statistical Office (ISTAT) set up a working group composed of representatives of relevant ministries, local administrations and civil society organisations to foster inter-institutional cooperation in the collection and use of data on Roma, Sinti and Caminanti minorities
Institutional and structural guidelines
Map existing sources
Foster inter-institutional cooperation
Build up data hub
Build institutional capacity
Operational guidelines
Ensure comprehensiveness
Enhance validity and reliability
Ensure representativeness
Improve comparability
Racial or ethnic origin
Includes multiple / intersectional discrimination


In this page:

Why was the practice needed?

In 2017, the Italian national statistical office (ISTAT) set up a statistical working group composed of representatives of relevant ministries, local administrations and civil society organisations to foster inter-institutional cooperation in the collection and use of data on Roma, Sinti and Caminanti minorities.

Italy set up this working group as one of the measures implementing its national Roma integration strategy under the EU’s Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies.

There is a current lack of reliable and comprehensive data on the Roma people. There are also legal constraints on collecting statistics on ethnicity.

Therefore, the main purpose of the working group is to reach an agreement on possible methodologies and scope of data collection which could help improve the situation. The underlying rationale is that the participation of Roma organisations will trigger greater trust in the data and more willingness to participate in data collection processes.

In the medium-term, the statistical working group aims at providing a hub that maps existing data from official and non-official sources on the living conditions of Roma people and makes them available to a wider audience. Official sources are provided by the National Institute of Statistics or ministries or local administrations; they are produced according to high quality standards.

Non-official sources are produced mainly by civil society organisations but not for statistical purposes (e.g. main result of a European project made up by private organisations).

How was it implemented?

The statistical group holds periodical meetings to foster cooperation between public sector and civil society organisations, both at the local and national level. It is composed of representatives from ISTAT, relevant ministries, the Italian Equality Body (UNAR), local administrations and Roma community organisations.

The main activities of the group consist of: dialogue with and participation of Roma representatives; information exchange on good practices for data collection and dissemination; and drafting and publishing guidelines on data collection on Roma.

The guidelines will be addressed to ministries, local administrations and civil society organisations involved in the collection of the data on Roma, Sinti and Caminanti minorities. They will also concern the harmonisation of metadata to devise common definitions for statistical research.

Furthermore, work is ongoing to set up an online platform for sharing the main statistical data available at the national and local level, links to official documents at the European and national levels (Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, European commission communication, No.173/2011, F.R.A, Working party on Roma integration monitoring.


  • The platform and the guidelines on data collection on the Roma people are currently under development.

Key success factors

  • To ensure engagement and support of Roma communities, the Equality Body (UNAR) set up a national Roma, Sinti and Caminanti Forum. This Forum in turn chose the delegates that would participate in the statistical working group.

Technical information

  • Data sources covered: Household or individual surveys; Diversity monitoring.
  • Areas of life covered: Education; Health; Housing and living conditions; Access to good and services.
  • Target audience: Public administrations at the national and local level; Roma associations
  • Duration: 2017 – present
  • Geographical scope: National
  • Leading institution: National Statistical Office – ISTAT
  • Other organisations involved/consulted: National Anti-Racial Discrimination Office (UNAR)
  • Financial & human resources: No information provided.


Italian national statistical office (ISTAT) / Istituto Nazionale di Statistica
Nadia Nur / Valeria De Martino
Email: tavolostatrsc (at) istat (dot) it