Romani in North Macedonia
Macedonian Gipsies.jpg
Macedonian Romani children (around 1900)
Total population
53,879 (2002 census)
(Balkan Romani) and Macedonian
Sunni Islam 75%, Christianity 25% [1]

According to the last census from 2002, there were 53,879 people counted as Romani, the majority are Muslim Romani people in what is now North Macedonia, or 2.66% of the population. Another 3,843 people have been counted as "Egyptians" (0.2%).

One of the majority group are the Arlije,[2] and Gurbeti.[3]

Other sources claim the number to be between 80,000[4] and 260 000[5] Roma in North Macedonia or approximately 4 to 12% of the total population.

The municipality of Šuto Orizari is the only municipality in the world with a Muslim Romani people majority and the only municipality where Balkan Romani is an official language alongside Macedonian. The mayor of the municipality, Kurto Dudush, is an ethnic Roma.

In 2009, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia took measures to enlarge inclusion of Romani in the education process.[6]

North Macedonia is the region's leader in respecting the rights of the Romani people. It is the first country in the region with a minister of Romani ethnicity and also has many Romani in high government positions. However, there is still a lot to be done concerning the education and integration of the Romani.[7]



The Romani people originate from Northern India,[8][9][10][11][12][13] presumably from the northwestern Indian states Rajasthan[12][13] and Punjab.[12]

The linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of Romani language lie in India: the language has grammatical characteristics of Indian languages and shares with them a big part of the basic lexicon, for example, body parts or daily routines.[14]

More exactly, Romani shares the basic lexicon with Hindi and Punjabi. It shares many phonetic features with Marwari, while its grammar is closest to Bengali.[15]

Genetic findings in 2012 suggest the Romani originated in northwestern India and migrated as a group.[9][10][16] According to a genetic study in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the Ḍoma, are the likely ancestral populations of the modern European Roma.[17]

In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.[18]


The Romani in North Macedonia speak three different Balkan Romani dialects: Arli (the most prominent of the three), Džambaz, and Burgudži.[19]



The majority are Muslim Romani people who are Cultural Muslims and some practised Sufism, with a minority of Christian who belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few to Evangelicalism.

Notable people


  1. ^ "Roma muslims". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Arlije [Rombase]". Archived from the original on 16 September 2021.
  3. ^ "Gurbet [Rombase]".
  4. ^ "ABCD". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2017-09-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Изградбата на Коридорот 8 може да почне во 2014 година". Влада на Република Македонија (in Macedonian). 2012-03-16.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2009-08-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Hancock, Ian F. (2005) [2002]. We are the Romani People. Univ of Hertfordshire Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-902806-19-8: ‘While a nine century removal from India has diluted Indian biological connection to the extent that for some Romani groups, it may be hardly representative today, Sarren (1976:72) concluded that we still remain together, genetically, Asian rather than European’((cite book)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  9. ^ a b Mendizabal, Isabel (6 December 2012). "Reconstructing the Population History of European Romani from Genome-wide Data". Current Biology. 22 (24): 2342–2349. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.10.039. PMID 23219723.
  10. ^ a b Sindya N. Bhanoo (11 December 2012). "Genomic Study Traces Roma to Northern India". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Current Biology.
  12. ^ a b c K. Meira Goldberg; Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum; Michelle Heffner Hayes (2015-09-28). Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives. p. 50. ISBN 9780786494705. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  13. ^ a b Simon Broughton; Mark Ellingham; Richard Trillo (1999). World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Rough Guides. p. 147. ISBN 9781858286358. Retrieved 2016-05-21. Roma Rajastan Penjab.
  14. ^ Šebková, Hana; Žlnayová, Edita (1998), Nástin mluvnice slovenské romštiny (pro pedagogické účely) (PDF), Ústí nad Labem: Pedagogická fakulta Univerzity J. E. Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem, p. 4, ISBN 978-80-7044-205-0, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04
  15. ^ Hübschmannová, Milena (1995). "Romaňi čhib – romština: Několik základních informací o romském jazyku". Bulletin Muzea Romské Kultury. Brno: Muzeum romské kultury (4/1995). Zatímco romská lexika je bližší hindštině, marvárštině, pandžábštině atd., v gramatické sféře nacházíme mnoho shod s východoindickým jazykem, s bengálštinou.
  16. ^ "5 Intriguing Facts About the Roma". Live Science. 23 October 2013.
  17. ^ Rai, N; Chaubey, G; Tamang, R; Pathak, AK; Singh, VK (2012), "The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations", PLOS ONE, 7 (11): e48477, Bibcode:2012PLoSO...748477R, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048477, PMC 3509117, PMID 23209554
  18. ^ "Can Romas be part of Indian diaspora?". 29 February 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  19. ^ Korhonen, Jani; Makartsev, Maxim; Petrusevka, Milica; Spasov, Ljudmil (2016). "Ethnic and linguistic minorities in the border region of Albania, Greece, and Macedonia: An overview of legal and societal status" (PDF). Slavica Helsingiensia. 49: 35.