Marriages between Italians and foreigners have increased tenfold in fifteen years, according to the recent survey. Mixed marriages are up from 60,000 in 1991 to 600,000 last year, said Catholic charity organisation Caritas/Migrantes, citing data from statistics agency Istat. The pace is rising as more immigrants enter the country, with a surge of 22 percent in the last two years, Istat said.
The survey highlighted the apparent preferences of Italians by gender. Italian men appeared to prefer Filipino, Romanian, Peruvian and Albanian women, Caritas said—perhaps reflecting an increase in the number of wealthy Italians who either have mail-order brides or end up marrying their foreign care-givers. More than three quarters of the Filipinas in Italy have married Italians, compared to 67 percent of Romanian immigrants who’ve tied the knot with Italians. The proportion of the Peruvian and Albanian female population with Italian husbands hovers around the 60 percent mark.
Italian women, by contrast, appear to favour North Africans.
Of the Senegalese who have taken over from Italians in stoking northern smoke stacks, 75 percent have Italian wives. Tunisians come in second with 72 percent, followed by Moroccans with 53 percent. As it has done elsewhere, the Chinese community is marked by its insularity, at least in this respect: more than 84 percent marry other Chinese. Geographically, affluent northern Italy leads the way in mixed marriages while the poorer south lags behind.