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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% more than in the previous year), the equivalent of 8.3% of the total number of residents corresponding to 21,000 units. Women are 52.4% of the total amount (one percentage point 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% compared to the previous year). The majority of permits is for work and family reasons.


The gap between unemployment rates among nationals and non-nationals is becoming smaller: in 2017 the employment rate of non-nationals aged 20-64 reached 63.9% as against 62.2% for Italians. The unemployment rate decreased among both nationals and non-nationals, though the latter still registered higher rates; conversely, the inactivity rate of non-nationals aged 15-64 was still lower than that for Italians (29.2% as against 35.2%), 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%, those with upper secondary education were 35.1% and 10.7% completed tertiary education (17.2% for Italians).