Friday, December 30, 2011


Image: Wikimedia Commons via ECB

Statistics released today by Istat, the Italian National Statistics Office, show that 24.5% of Italians were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2010, a figure not much different from that for 2009. As usual, the situation is worse in the South, where 12.9% of families are suffering some form of deprivation, a figure which is double that for Central Italy and three times that for the North.  Family income is a stunning 25% lower in the South than in the rest of Italy whilst the percentage of Italian families in which the 18-59-year-olds work for less than one fifth of the year stands at 10.2, an increase of 1.4% as compared to 2009.

In 2010 16% of families were finding it impossible to manage on their monthly income and 8.9% had utility bill arrears. The number who had rent or mortgage arrears stands at 11.2%.  A worrying 31.3% of families had found themselves without the means to purchase necessary clothing during 2010 and 6.3% had been unable to purchase the food they needed at some point in the year. Also worryingly, 18.1% of families had experienced difficulty in paying medical expenses: Italy of course has a free health service but hospital appointments and tests carry a nominal charge for all but the poorest and there are prescription and some other charges.  The statistics also show that 11.5% of families had been unable to heat their homes adequately and you may be surprised to learn that most of these live in the South:  winter nights can be harsh here but the figures may also reflect the fact that families in the South are more likely to have elderly relatives living with them.

Sadly, it is Italy's young people who are most at risk of poverty and deprivation and again the figure is higher for the South.

Another year and another set of statistics, yes;  but behind each of these statistics there are human beings and stories of real suffering.  It is my earnest hope that politicians do not forget this and that everyone has a more prosperous 2012.


J. M. P. said...

I hope statistics get better in 2012. Wishing you a happy new year!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Me too, Josep and a very Happy New Year to you.


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