The social divisions have increased in Slovakia since independence in 1993. Public servants, pensioners and Roma have been hardest hit by the political and economic transformations brought about by the adjustment to the EU and the market economy.
There is a public social insurance system, which includes pensions, sickness and unemployment benefits and parental benefit. It is financed through fees from both employers and employees.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Slovakia, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Health care is mainly state, but parts of health care, such as pharmacies and health resorts, have been privatized. Low wages and poor working conditions have led to a medical shortage, when many left the profession or emigrated. The average life expectancy is lower than in the “old” EU countries, despite the reduction in child mortality, from 18 to 9 per thousand born between 1990 and 2010.
Slovakia’s 350,000-500,000 Roma live in particularly difficult conditions. Most live in some of the more than 600 barracks-like areas on the outskirts of the neglected eastern Slovakia. The unemployment rate among the Roma is estimated at 40-50 percent, but in some areas in the east, entire villages depend on social assistance to cope.
The government’s decision to halve social grants in 2004 triggered riots among Roma in several parts of the eastern part of the country.
The difficult situation has resulted in groups of Roma leaving Slovakia and seeking political asylum in countries in Western Europe since the late 1990s. Most have been rejected. In the negotiations for Slovak membership in the Union, the EU demanded that the living conditions of the Roma be improved, but little progress has been made.
During the 2010 election campaign, there were openly racist campaigns against the Roma population. It was then also revealed that the Slovak government did not use any of the EU contribution the country received in 2001 to improve the situation of the Roma.
By law, women and men are equal, but in reality women still play a less prominent role in Slovakia. The fact that the Prime Minister in 2010–2012 was a woman, Iveta Radičová, was a big step forward. But after the 2012 election, only 26 of the 150 MEPs were women, placing Slovakia among the European states with the lowest proportion of women in parliament. Similarly, the number of female managers in the business sector is few. Violence against women is still widespread. Human rights organizations in the country claim that every other woman is subjected to domestic violence at least once a month.
Childhood is also a problem. Aga is not prohibited by law and is often used to make children obey. Slovak families usually consist of a nuclear family where the children are raised to be quiet, listen to and obey the adults.
The ban on all forms of discrimination in 2004 also strengthened the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals. In 2010, for the first time, a pride festival could also be held in Bratislava. Opinion surveys show that there is a greater tolerance for sexual minorities than before.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 5 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 97.9 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 97.9 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.9 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 1,179 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 20 percent (2018)
New law restricts minority language
Parliament adopts a law restricting the use of minority languages in contacts with the authorities (see Population and Languages).
Elections to the European Parliament
Only 19.6 percent of voters vote in the European Parliament elections. It is the lowest figure among EU countries. Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) gets 32 percent (5 seats), Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ-DS) 17 percent (2 seats), Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK-MKP) 11 percent (2 seats), Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) 11 percent (2 mandates), the People’s Party Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (ĽS-HZDS) 9 percent (1 mandate) and SNS 6 percent (1 mandate).
Bro, a new political party that wants to promote more cooperation between minority people and better social welfare, is formed by defectors from the Hungarian party SMK-MKP.
Nationalist statement on textbook in Hungarian
Ján Slota, leader of the Swedish National Extremist Nationalist Party (SNS) who is a member of the government, makes controversial statements about a Slovak textbook in Hungarian. As a result, a scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Robert Fico and his Hungarian colleague is canceled.
Gašparovič remains as president
Ivan Gašparovič, from the Democracy Movement (HZD), is elected for a second term as president.
Abuse on Roma children
Through a film, it is revealed how ten policemen commit serious abuses on a group of Roma children in eastern Slovakia. Several of the police officers are dismissed and prosecuted later (see Political system).
Liberals form a party
A new liberal party is formed, Freedom and Democracy (SaS).
Euro new currency
Slovakia exchanges its currency koruna for euro.