Understanding the Classes of Romanian People

Romanian people still come with the “poor Eastern European” stereotype that covers most in the area.

This, however, is not the full story – and definitely something that has changed a lot especially over the past several years.

Romanians actually come from all sorts of backgrounds. There are the very poor and the obscenely rich. But even the “poor” Romanians are still doing much better than they did a decade or more ago.

(Read more about salaries in the EU here, and you’ll probably be surprised where Romania ranks today!)

But let’s get a bit more in depth today with Romanian people and see how Romanian society actually is! And once you’re done with this article, make sure to also read the one about Romanian culture for the complete picture.

A Note On “Third World” Countries

I’ve recently had reason to question my beliefs. When you look from outside, Romania seems poor.

Especially if you see the documentaries on poor gipsy families and how they sometimes sell brides, they’re forced to give away their children to become beggars and die from completely treatable diseases.

In actuality, this is a very small part of reality. Romania isn’t even a third world country in my opinion, even though it still ranks towards the bottom of the richest countries in Europe.

But think about Africa or the slums of South America. Romania is nothing compared to this.

In conclusion:

Don’t be dramatic about poverty in Romania. While there are many issues, people here are not struggling to feed their families, at least not most of them. The quality of life in Romania overall is really high and the country itself, as well as the people living here are modern.

Gypsy population in Romania

gypsy hand reading

There isn’t any way to phrase this that would not sound racist, but it’s definitely not meant to be like that – it’s just the reality here.

The worst poverty is in gipsy neighborhoods or communities.

And poverty means poor sanitation, fewer education opportunities, and ultimately – higher crime rates.

Most Romanians hate to be associated with gypsies. To Westerners, it’s all the same – after all both ethnic Romanians and Romani people come from the same place and even the names are very similar.

However, the culture, way of being, and even the language are drastically different.

Are gypsies from Romania [aka Romani people]?

Gypsies are originally from India, supposedly from the Northern states. Linguists say that the origins of the Romani gipsy language lie in Indian tongues. Phonetically, it sounds like something between Hindi and Punjabi.

During a Roma conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs called Roma people the children of India. This official confirmation sealed the theories.

When you look at a gipsy, they are visibly different than your regular Romanian. They have darker skin, thick black hair, and more prominent features. It all makes them look quite Hindi.

Romani people first reached Romania (and the rest of the countries in the region) during the Mongol invasion of Europe. There are historical records that describe them.

Even in the Middle Ages, people believed them to practice sorcery and fortune telling, to enjoy colorful clothes and tons of bling-bling, and to live in relative poverty.

Why Romanians Dislike Gypsies

Some Romanian people outright dislike Romani gypsies. While it’s easy to condemn racism – and fortunately things are changing – try to understand their point.

For decades now, gipsy neighbourhoods were the most dangerous, the most crime-infested, and generally where trouble happened. To add insult to injury, gypsies are linked to petty crimes like theft.

In larger cities, there are entire gangs of gipsy beggars. They would often use young children to guilt people into giving them money.

Sadly, even though the beggars themselves are poor, most of the cash they make goes directly to the gang member that controls them.

If you want to get a (just slightly exaggerated) picture of life in gipsy communities, watch Black Cat, White Cat by Serbian director Emir Kusturica.

Even though it is set in Serbia, it gives you a pretty accurate picture of Romani people and how their daily life sometimes is.

A much less humorous take on the matter is Time of the Gypsies, also by Kusturica. It’s the story of a young boy with supernatural powers that falls into the crime world of Roma communities.

In one of the most powerful sequences of the movie, a lame young girl departs to Ljubljana to get her leg operated. Instead, she ends up a beggar as a part of her uncle’s money-making schemes.

So, to sum it up:

Gypsies are among the most underprivileged people in the Romanian society. Their communities are often away from the city center, they lack basic sanitation, not to mention schools and hospitals. Romani people are often forced into petty crime just to get by.

They are not bad people for sure. Even though Romania can’t provide much in terms of welfare, some gypsies choose to live entirely off the state and illegal activity. This is especially true of “single” gipsy mothers.

Because they are not legally married, these moms can pop out more and more children and get benefits as though they were single mothers.

Romanian flag

Many Romanians complain that Romani people are putting their country into ruin along with creating a poor name for Romania outside of Europe and committing thefts and robberies.

Among all of this, there is a vibrant culture and a love of life that most other Romanians lack.

Gypsies love dancing, they sing a lot, and they are often into clairvoyance and magic. Still, I don’t recommend you go see their neighborhoods.

There isn’t much to see and it’s all very dirty and unorganized. Add a certain level of petty crimes and you have yourself a place where most locals wouldn’t dare enter.

Lower Class Romanians

The next class are less wealthy Romanian people. Think minimum wage workers or those living in villages with sometimes fewer amenities than you would expect in the modern world.

These are also blue collar workers and their families. Factory jobs have been on the decline lately.

That being said, there are still plenty of industrial plants that need to hire people The only thing you have to beware of is a girl (or a guy) that doesn’t have any job at all.

Even if she works in a supermarket, it is fine. What you don’t want is an aspiring sugar baby. That is why you don’t date permanently unemployed people. To get an insider’s scoop, make sure to read more about Romanian women here.

Contrary to what Romanian TV would have you believe, there are enough jobs in the country, even if you don’t have a top-level education.

Lower class, to me, means relatively poor but still living in a decent house with running water, sufficient food, etc. They might also be simple people who try to live a fairly decent life even with their limited resources.

Curiously, lower class Romanians are also among the most hospitable. They can’t afford much but they will put their very best foot forward with guests. Bring a lot of gifts, if invited to one of their homes!

Middle-Class Romanian People

traditional Romanian clothes

The middle class is not really pronounced in Romania. Unlike other parts of Europe, Romania is still developing. The middle class is tiny and the contrast between rich and poor will amaze you.

Most middle-class Romanians are either state functionaries, or they’re office workers in one of the larger cities or smaller scale entrepreneurs.

Sadly, doctors and other healthcare professionals barely fit this category. Depending on where they practice, they might be leaning more towards lower class.

As for lawyers and other specialists in the field, for the most part they are middle class.

In some cases (which is also true of docs), they make significant amounts of money. In others, a lawyer might make less than a customer service agent, employed in an outsourcing company.

Middle-class Romanian women are the best to date, I believe. They are educated and they might have travelled a bit around Europe. At the same time, they don’t have the arrogance that comes with being upper class.

Rich Romanian People: Yes, They Exist!

Wealthy Romanian people live in a different universe. They have access to the best of the best!

Romanian celebrities plus the sons and daughters of politicians are a class of their own. Often, they are not as wealthy as truly rich kids.

They are, however, very used to being in the public eye. Their social media pages have tens of thousands of followers and some get frequent paparazzi.

You’re not very likely to date one but if you do, prepare for all the selfies. Aspiring Instagram models, who usually come from the middle class and lower, are the worst for that. Power through or meet a sweeter, more humble girl.

In Conclusion

Romanian people are not struggling to make ends meet. They’re not starving. Most of them are living fairly decent lives and making the best of what they have, striving to improve.

Apart from a small elite, though, nobody is truly rich in Romania. This is your quick summary on how they live. No more Eastern European stereotypes!

P.S. Share your thoughts in the comments below…

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