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27 October 2016

Migration Statistical Yearbook 2016 (Italy)


The 2016 statistics on immigration in Italy has been released. As for past editions, it provides a comprehensive and detailed description of the latest dynamics of immigration to Italy and the state of integration of the foreign population living in the country. It focuses on recent dynamics in labour market integration patterns, access to education and services, and acquisition of nationality. It draws on facts and figures from administrative data and ad hoc surveys on specific issues. 

Stocks and Flows

The immigrant resident population in Italy has remained stable in 2015, with 5,026,153 registered foreign residents, corresponding to 8.3% of the total population. Such figures are the result of a slowdown in new arrivals combined with increasing returns, on the one hand, and of a decreasing birth rate among foreigners and a steady increase in naturalisation rates, on the other hand. Authors note that the birth rate of foreign residents remains at higher levels than that observed among Italian nationals (14.4 against 8.0) but it has decreased by 10% since 2012.

Around a third of foreign residents in Italy are EU nationals. Another 22% comes from non-EU European countries (Albania, Ukraine or Moldova). African Nationals represent 21% of the total migrant stock, mostly from North or West Africa; a similar share (20%) is represented by Asian nationals (especially from China, Philippines and India).

Labour market integration

Between 2008 and 2015, the economic crisis had affected migrant workers significantly more than Italian nationals. In 2015, the Italian labour market has shown some signal of recovery. Migrant workers seem to have benefited from it, as immigrants’ employment increased by 2.8% between 2014 and 2015 (+65,000 employed); a recovery that has concerned more men (+1.3%) than women (+0.4%).

Data from the 2015 labour force surveys confirm the concentration of migrants in the lower ladders of the occupational scale: migrant workers represented 10.5% of the employed labour force but they are over-represented in construction (16.1%), hotels and catering services (18.3%) or domestic services (74.7%). Such concentration in poorly skilled jobs does not necessarily reflect a low level of education, as 40.9% of them are affected by over-qualification. This is double the share observed among Italians. It results in a significant pay gap between migrant and Italian workers (979 EUR against 1,362 EUR). Official data collected by the Chambers of Commerce also show that migrant entrepreneurship continue to increase.


Housing is another realm where integration prospects of migrant populations in Italy have deteriorated over the crisis
years. While in the pre-crisis years signals towards a growing role of immigrants in real estate markets pointed towards an enhanced situation for migrant housing, things have substantially worsened after 2008: the number of real estate transactions with a foreign-born individual buyer had has fallen down by 62% between 2008 and 2015. Nonetheless, for the first time since 2008, the number of purchases by migrants has increased by 8.3% in 2015 over the previous year.


Latest data on schools and tertiary education institutions show both encouraging signals of successful integration and important challenges that yet need to be tackled. On the one hand, for the first time since a number of years, the figures on school enrolment of migrant children point to a relative slowdown of new enrolments but this trend may in fact reflect a growth in naturalisation of migrant children born in Italy. Young people with a migratory background are however still over-represented among NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) and Early School Leavers: migrants represent 14.4% of the NEET and 34.4% of foreign-born teenagers are early school leavers.


IDOS Study and Research Center
Geographic area
Contributor type
Academics and experts
Original source
Posted by
Ester Salis
Country Coordinator

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