GIOVENTU » Young Italians are the new poor

Young Italians are the new poor

According to the Catholic charity “Caritas” young Italian workers are the new poor. The Caritas' report showed that not only unemployed people but also workers, families and the young live below the poverty line. The traditional pattern that saw poverty levels increase with age no longer holds in Italy. Differently from before, poverty is inversely proportional to age. The young are much more likely to be poor than the elderly.

The consequences for the country might be dramatic even in the short run as the younger generation is not coming to replace (current) companies and state institutions. Therefore, the economic and political structure of the country might quite soon become obsolete and unproductive.

The poorest part of the population is under 18 years of age, followed by the 18-34 age group. Out of the 4.5 million of poor recorded, 46.6 percent are under 34 years of age. In absolute terms they are 2.1 million people and minors are 1.1 million. Differently from even only one year ago, the over 65s are in relatively moderate need.


One million and 582 thousand families live in absolute poverty, that is more than 4.5 million people. It is the highest figure since 2005. The poverty rate has doubled with respect to 2007, the year before the beginning of the economical crisis, taking it up to 7.6 percent.  


The most difficult situation is in the south with the highest rates on individuals     (10 percent) and on families 9.1 percent. In the south of Italy live 34.4 of the population and 45.3 percent of them are poor.


The situation has worsen for the so called “working poor”, that is people with a job but under-employed or underpaid.


The elderly seem to have coped better with the economical crisis due to the pension system and home-ownership. On the contrary, the persistent work crisis has penalised the young.


The families more in difficulty are those in which the breadwinner is unemployed, among them the percentage of poor is 19.8 percent. If ten years ago families with three children were more likely to be poor, more families with 2 minor children are now considered poor in absolute terms. 


More foreigners sought aid from Caritas last year than Italians did (57.2 percent of the total), except for in the south, where two-thirds of needy people were Italian.

Giulia Lombardo

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