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Foreign population

An overview

Over 5 million foreign citizens were enrolled on municipal population registers at 1st January 2017 (0.4 percent more than in the previous year), the equivalent of 8.3 percent of the total number of residents corresponding to 21,000 units. Women are 52.4 percent of the total amount (1 percent less compared to 2012).


Since 2011 Italy has registered a decrease of inflows of non-Eu citizens. In 2016 226,934 new permits were issued (-5.0 percent compared to the previous year). The majority of permits is for work and family reasons.


The gap between unemployment rates between nationals and non-nationals is becoming smaller: in 2017 the employment rate of non-nationals aged 20-64 reached 63.9 percent as against 62.2 percent for Italians. The unemployment rate decreased among both nationals and non-nationals, though the latter still registered higher rates; conversely, the inactivity rate of persons aged 15-64 was still lower than for Italians (29.2 percent as against 35.2 percent) with larger gaps in the South and Islands.

The level of education among non-nationals is still lower than among Italians: the share of non-nationals aged 15-64 with at least lower secondary education amounted to over 50 percent, those with upper secondary education were 35-1 percent and 10.7 percent completed tertiary education (17.2 percent for Italians).