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Foreign population

Italy within the European context

The last available European data from 1st January 2016 show that foreign residents accounted for 8.3% of the Italian population, a value higher than the Eu average, placing Italy at eleventh place in the ranking of the 28 Eu Member States, after Germany (10.5%), Spain (9.5%) and the United Kingdom (8.6%), with a value higher than that of France (6.6%). In these countries migration has a much longer history and a higher number of foreigners are likely to have acquired citizenship.

The Eu28 average employment rate in 2016 showed an increase for both non-national and national population although, differently from the situation in the previous year, the share  of non-nationals employed in the labour market was lower than that of nationals (on average 64.4 percent as against 71.7 percent). Conversely in Italy the employment rate was higher for non-nationals and increased compared to 2015 (+0.7 percentage points), in line with the average Eu values (+0.6 percentage points). Among the countries with higher employment rates for non-nationals were also the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Slovakia.


The average Eu unemployment rate showed remarkably higher values for non-nationals (13.7% compared to 8.1% for nationals). At the European level the gap between the two components was larger than in Italy and the largest gap was recorded in Sweden. The inactivity rate in Eu28 showed a decreasing trend for nationals, while it tended to increase for non-nationals