r-selected reproductive strategies among Hungarian Gipsies: A preliminary analysis

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The Gipsies, a particular ethnic and social group living mostly in the Eastern European countries, have been studied in terms of r- and K-selection. Considering the variables of fertility, birth spacing, mortality, age distribution, and physical parameters, they proved to be more r-selected than the Hungarians. The main factors bringing about these differences on the scale of r- and K-strategy come from both genetic and cultural biases. Resource unpredictability and social uncertainty, important components of the Gipsies' way of life, contribute to their higher fertility and mortality. Other characteristics, such as a female surplus in the birth sex ratio and the good survival capacity of the "premature" Gipsy infants, seem to show genetic influences as "racial" traits. Finally, a particular family arrangement characteristic of Gipsies, the father-absent household, is likely to have influence on their early sexual activity, even promiscuity, and unstable pair bonds. These analyses, that should be completed with further detailed investigations of social factors, may contribute to the understanding and improvement of the Gipsies' living conditions, after their ignorance in the Communist regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
JournalEthology and Sociobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993


  • Evolutionary strategies
  • Gipsies
  • r- and K-selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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