When the going gets tough, the south goes north

Istat report shows causes for increasing north-south divide

Editorial Staff
May 31, 2007

Italy’s social and economic north-south divide continues to grow. According to the annual Istat report, southern Italians are, as they have in the past, again migrating to northern Italy in search of livelihood.


Currently 34.3 percent of the labour force in the south is unemployed, whereas 13.4 percent of those in the northwest have no jobs. The average salary in the south is 75 percent of what it is in the north. An average income in the industrialized region of Lombardy is 32,000 euro, but 21,000 euro in Sicily. The report also indicated that 70 percent of Italy’s poorest families live in the south, where 5 percent do not even have enough to eat.


The Istat report also took a look at Italy’s aging population, the oldest in Europe and the second oldest in the world after Japan. There are currently 141 Italians aged 65 and over for every 100 people aged 15 or under. One key cause is Italy’s low birthrate, as figures reveal that in 2006 the average Italian woman had 1.35 children. The other cause is longevity: life expectancy in Italy is one of the highest in Europe. The average for Italian women is now 84; for men it is 78.3.

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