General Methodology

The Comparative Minority Institutions Database collects data and evaluates the situation of ethnic minority communities living in Central and Eastern Europe – namely, Russians in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; Poles in Lithuania; Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia. You can read more about the cases in the Ethnic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe section.

We examine key aspects of the associational life of ethnic minority populations in majoritarian states. The database focuses on the individual (micro-level) and institutional (meso-level) indicators of access, participation, and agency in political, social, economic, cultural, and other institutions relevant to improving the quality of life. Table 1 presents the database's conceptual structure at the levels of analysis, the variables, the indicators, and their measures.

Levels of Analysis

Relative Status

At the micro-level, we approach minority access, participation, and agency through different indicators of the relative status of members of ethnic minorities compared to the titular group. Cross-country individual-level socioeconomic indicators are used to assess the relative status and ethnic gaps within and across the six cases. We provide comparative data on parity in general education, access to higher education, and income per capita for ethnic minorities and dominant groups in each case. Micro-level data was collected from secondary sources, including official national-level data collection (censuses) and cross-national surveys (Household Labor Force Survey, PISA).

Institutional Self-governing Capacity

The Minority Institutions Database evaluates the self-governing capacities of minorities exercised through minority associations in different domains. We adopted the John Hopkins University (JHU) classification of 12 societal domains and mapped the associational life of ethnic minorities across them. Meso-level data was retrieved from government associational registries, official lists of minority associations, and minority organizations' websites.

Table 1: The conceptual structure of the database

Level of analysis Variable Indicators Measurement
Micro-level Relative Status Parity in
general education
disparities in PISA
assessment results
Proportion of
university graduates
Labor market
Unemployment rates
Meso-level Institutional self-
governing capacity
Associational density Minority organizations
per 1000 inhabitants
Structures of self-
governance in
Distribution by type of
organizational self-
Distribution by
organizational form