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The present study has been carried out within the framework of the project “United Networks. Integrated initiative for the social inclusion of marginalized communities” led by the Caritas – Social Work Organization Alba-Iulia in partnership with the Babeș-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, the Mures, Harghita, and Covasna County Directorates for Social Assistance and Child Protection, and Caritas Norway between May 2015 and December 2016.

Our primary purpose is methodological: to construct two complementary macro-level indexes (an index of housing deprivation and an index of low income and unemployment), and compare them with similar, earlier indexes such as the index of community development (Sandu, 2000) and the index of local-level deprivation elaborated by Teșliuc, Grigoraș és Stănculescu (2016). We confront the statistical portraits drawn by these indexes with the results of qualitative fieldwork consisting of interviews with mayors, school principles, social workers, school mediators, etc., and ethnographic observations in twenty rural communities from the central part of historical Transylvania.

We investigate to what extent these composite indicators based on official statistical data regularly reported by local or county-level authorities could reveal the existence of deprived and marginalized settlements, as shown by our qualitative research in these localities. Conversely, we explore whether the results of the qualitative research converge with the statistical data. We pay special attention to the parts of villages inhabited mostly by Roma families, and their situation of social and spatial marginalization and severe deprivation.

Keywords: local level deprivation index, Roma deprivation, Transylvania, Szeklerland

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