As people move

by Lorenzo Piccoli

I missed the presentation of this important report by ISTAT, the Italian National Institute of Statistics. It was presented at the end of December 2012, but I see it only now. It is a comprehensive study on migration to, from, and within Italy. I think there are three main points that are interesting to catch.

1. Immigration. From 2002 to 2011, inflows of foreign citizens were higher than three and a half million units. About one million entries apply only to citizens of Romania. 43% of foreign immigrants coming from Romania, Morocco, China and Ukraine. After peaking in 2007, EU-members show a downward trend that lasted until 2011, when it recorded a decrease of 13.8% over the previous year.

2. Emigration. For Italians, the main countries of destination were Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Emigrants to foreign countries have an average of 34 years. One quarter of Italian emigrants hold a university degree.

3. Internal migration. In 2011, changes of residence within the country amounted to about 1 million 358 thousand. Compared to 2010, there was an increase of 13,000 transfers. Transfers between the South and the Centre-North amounted to 173 000, accounting for 53% of interregional transfers: 112 000 originate in the South and 61 000 in the center-north. Most of the people who emigrate from the South to the North, move from big cities (Naples, Palermo, Bari). The majority of these people hold a university degree.

This picture tells us that inequalities between the north and the south of the country will continue to grow. Furthermore, if people with a university degree continue emigrating from big southern cities first, and then from the country, we will loose the bolsters for innovation and progress. On the other hand, large immigrant inflows are becoming a stable feature. At this regard, it is important to notice that Italian immigration policies are outdated and are unable to account for the changes that followed 1990 and the rise in international immigration. For this reason, the laws that regulate the integration of immigrants and citizenship entitlements will surely be at the centre of the Italian political agenda in the next decade. This is one of the reasons why my research interests focus on managing immigration, integration, and citizenship policies.