Absolute poverty experienced by one in 12 Italians – Report

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A recent report has revealed that nearly one in every 12 Italians is grappling with absolute poverty, a consequence of soaring inflation in the country, according to Euro News. The report, published by the country’s National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) on Friday, highlights a distressing scenario where over 5.6 million Italians are unable to afford basic necessities such as food, shelter, education, and healthcare.

Over the past decade, the number of Italians living in “absolute poverty” has witnessed a dramatic surge, with 5.67 million individuals and 2.18 million families falling below the income threshold required to meet their fundamental needs. This increase has been particularly sharp over the last few years.

ISTAT underscores that the primary reason for this spike in the poverty rate is the significant inflation in Italy. In 2022, inflation surged to an estimated 8.7%. While it has moderated to 5.3% as of September 2023, this figure remains considerably higher than the European Central Bank’s target of close to, but below, 2%.

Of crucial note is that the rising cost of living has disproportionately affected lower-income families when compared to their wealthier counterparts. The government’s assistance to families struggling to pay their energy bills last year is believed to have mitigated the poverty rate’s increase, keeping it from reaching even more alarming levels.

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Italian economist Tito Boeri commented on the recent statistics, expressing his concerns about the situation.

“‘Absolute poverty’ in Italy can be calculated to mean earning less than €817.56 per month after taxes if you live in a city in the north; earning less than €733 each month after taxes if you live outside of a city in the north; and earning less than €554 per month after taxes if you live outside of a city in the south.

“Italians in the south are also among the majority of the country’s poor. According to the ISTAT’s latest report, 10.7% of all poor families in Italy live in the south, with a total of 2,038,000 poor individuals and 699,999 poor families considered to be in absolute poverty.

“By contrast, some 1,832,000 poor individuals and 609,000 poor families live in the north (7.5% of all poor families) and 871,000 poor individuals and 311,000 poor families live in the centre of the country (6.4% of all poor families),” he maintained.

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