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Foreign population

Italy within the European context

The last available European data from 1st January 2017 show that foreign residents accounted for 8.3% of the Italian population, a value slightly higher than the Eu average, placing Italy at the fourteenth place in the ranking of the 28 Eu Member States, after Germany (11.2%), Spain (9.5%) and the United Kingdom (9.2%), with a value higher than that of France (6.9%). 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 (of persons aged 20-64) in 2017 showed an increase for both non-national and national population. Compared to the situation in the previous year, the share of non-nationals employed in the labour market was again lower than that of nationals (on average 65.5 percent as against 72.8 percent). Conversely in Italy the employment rate was higher for non-nationals and increased compared to 2016 (+0.8 percentage points), though to a lesser extent than in the Eu (+1.1 percentage points). Among the seven countries with higher employment rates for non-nationals, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovakia showed values higher than 4 percentage points compared to the others.


The average Eu unemployment rate showed remarkably higher values for non-nationals (12.4% compared to 7.2% 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 both nationals and non-nationals, though the gap at a disadvantage for the latter category registered a slight increase.