According to Eurostat, the risk of poverty in Italy has been growing worryingly since 2021

Politics - October 18, 2022

The latest Eurostat tables show an increasing percentage up to 25.2% of people with incomes below 60% of the average available incomes, also considering individuals at risk of social exclusion, unable to afford main material goods and social activities or who live in low work intensity families.

Assoutenti makes a not very encouraging estimate looking to the future and foresees a worsening of the situation in the coming months due to the numerous negative vicissitudes that have characterized the last 2 years, with a still stalled economy due to the Covid pandemic and  increased prices that have never been so high in recent decades, due to the geopolitical events that see Russia and Ukraine in an armed conflict that has upset the economic and financial equilibrium of the whole world as well as causing a significant drop in food and energy supplies. Some Istat data, in recent weeks, show a growing trend by Italians to save on the purchase of basic necessities such as has not been recorded since the Second World War.

The risk of poverty in Italy went from 20% in 2020 to 20.1% the following year and is growing for about 12 million people involved, including over a quarter of the total number of minors under the age of 6. This figure would be significantly worse if the money transfers, to the neediest groups, were not considered.

Italian children represent the most damaged community by the continuous deterioration of the average economic conditions of the concerned families and the gradual but inexorable reduction in the number of individuals in this age group, due to the constant decline in births, makes the data even more worrying.

To make the situation clearer to analysts is the element relating to families with several members, highlighted by Istat, which records the worsening of the economic conditions of families with 5 or more members, reaching a poverty rate of 22.6% to go down to 11.6% among those with 4 members up to 5% for families with only 2 members. For other types of family, in which different communities cohabit the rate is 16.3%

The poverty rate recorded in 2021 for children under 6 years of age is the absolute worst since 1995 and involves about 667.000 minors, an increase of 7000 units from 2020. This data is in sharp contrast to the lowering of the poverty rate of the elderly of almost one percentage point compared to 2020, from 16.8% to 15.6%, thanks to the resilience of pensions not yet touched by the disabling inflation of 2022. In other European countries such as Germany, however, the increase in the risk of poverty has affected above all the older population and women, highlighting long-term lacunas linked to pension management and to the gender gap that was always appeared less evident than in Italy.

Analyzing the situation by a territorial point of view, the conditions, as for statistical tradition, remain worse in the south of the italic peninsula, to slightly improve in the south and settle on lower but still worrying values in northern Italy where the economic conditions are better than the rest of the country but still far from being competitive to other European nations where, however, the situation can be now defined as difficult as in Italy.

From the latest statistical records, therefore, it seems clear that Italy confirms the lack of political efficiency in safeguarding youth resources, through short-sighted welfare programs and with an economy that is still too tied to the saving capacities of the “old” generations. In 2021, almost 3 million minors, including 789 preschool children, live in families with an income below 60% of the average with significant material and social deprivation capable of affecting their cultural and psycho-social formation.