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27 October 2023

Italy: ISTAT report on poverty rates and immigration

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In October 2023 the Italian Statistics Institute (ISTAT) published a new report on poverty in the country. According to data collected in 2022, there has been an increase in absolute poverty as a result of higher inflation. The findings are significant for migration and integration policies, as they show that the incidence of absolute poverty rates is particularly high for families with at least one foreigner.

According to the report there are more than 1.7 million foreigners in absolute poverty in Italy, with an incidence of 34%, more than 4.5 times higher than that of Italians (7.4%). For families with at least one foreigner, the incidence of absolute poverty is 28.9% (28.1% in 2021). It stands at 33.2% for households composed exclusively of foreigners (stable compared to 32.8% in 2021), and 6.4% for households composed exclusively of Italians. In the central municipalities of metropolitan areas the seriousness of the issue for families comprising foreigners is even more pronounced: 34.4% compared with 5.1% for Italian-only families. The highest incidence is recorded in the south of the country, where the share of households with foreigners living in poverty is almost 4 times higher than that of households with only Italians (35.7% and 9.5% respectively).

The report finds that citizenship plays an important role in determining the socio-economic status of families with minors. The absolute poverty rate for families with minors composed exclusively of Italians is 7.8%, while it is 36.1% for families with minors composed exclusively of foreigners and 30.7% when there is at least one foreigner in the family.

The Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI) - which runs an anti-discrimination observatory in Italy and has promoted several legal proceedings to ensure the principle of non-discrimination between citizens and foreigners is upheld in access to social rights - has commented on the ISTAT data, highlighting that poverty affects families living in rented accommodation more than those who own their own home, and foreigners are more likely to live in rented accommodation than Italians. Against this background, measures to access social housing or to pay rent have often excluded many TCNs by imposing requirements such as length of residence or the provision of additional documents from the country of origin. ASGI also points out that there are restrictions on the access of foreigners to social benefits and to training and employability measures.

ISTAT report on poverty rates 2022/2023
(815.4 KB - PDF)


Italian Statistics Institute (ISTAT) 
Geographic area
Contributor type
National governmental actor
Original source
Posted by
Ferruccio Pastore
Country Coordinator

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