ITALY NEWS

Satisfied?,

Majority of Italians say 'yes' despite signs of 'demoralization'
(issue no. 133/2010 / December 9, 2010)

A survey conducted by Istat early in 2010 revealed that despite the economic crisis, the majority of Italians questioned said they were satisfied with the quality of their lives. Called Aspects of Daily Life, the survey analyzed Italians' satisfaction with their families, friends and acquaintances, their economic situation and the areas in which they live. The goal of the study was to probe Italians' perceived well-being and gauge the importance of interpersonal relationships in daily life.

 

According to the survey, Italy's life satisfaction score hovers around 7 (with 10 being the highest state of satisfaction). Results showed that both men and women in the country are equally satisfied with their lives, with the largest differences being related to age: youth aged 14 to 17 seem to be more satisfied with their lives than do those over 65. Those surveyed in Italy's North were generally more satisfied than those in Central Italy and the South.

 

Although Italians on average seem satisfied with their lives, 48 percent said they were ‘very satisfied,' and 44.3 percent responded that they were ‘rather satisfied' with their financial situation. The most dissatisfied Italians were from the South with 59.5 percent, followed by those in Central Italy (47.5 percent) and the North (42.5 percent.)

 

Conversely, the yearly Censis report on the state of the nation that was presented in early December 2010 gives a much gloomier outlook. The report depicted a ‘demoralised' country, showing signs of 'weakness both on the individual and social level.' The Censis report says Italians are ‘indifferent, cynical, prisoners of media influence and condemned to the present without memory of the past or hope for the future.' Among Italy's weaknesses are its national deficit, tax evasion (estimated at 100 million euro yearly), lack of investment in the labour market,  discouragement among youth, lack of specialization in production, and a stagnant rate of household savings. What is keeping the country on its feet, the report suggests, is the family, which acts as ‘strategic type of welfare' giving assistance to needy family members, and Italy's strong network of small businesses.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

Many fear the Eurozone debt crisis will start to engulf the EU's weaker states, like Portugal, Spain and Italy. Italy is especially at risk because of its political instability, massive debt and stagnant economy. Yet experts still believe that Italy is immune from a market attack, ‘Thanks to a prudent fiscal policy its public finances have deteriorated much less than in most euro zone countries, it suffered no housing crash, and none of its banks needed to be bailed out with public money,' says Reuters. Do you think Italy will make it through the global recession? Or do you see the country's imminent collapse on the horizon?  Email at inbox@theflorentine.net.

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