How many and who? An up-date picture of the foreign migrants in Italy

Gian Carlo Blangiardo, University Milan, Bicocca
Maria-Letizia Tanturri, University of Pavia

New knowledge on foreign migrants in Italy has been recently made available by the results of a national survey carried out during 2005 on a sample of 30,000 units, representative of the whole universe of foreign migrants. Processing of sampling data together with the latest official statistics lead to estimate 3,3 million foreigners coming from the so called “High emigration countries” and living in Italy at 1st July 2005, mainly (85%) in Central-Northern Italy. Legal migrants, in possession of a residence permit, are about 2,8 millions; the evaluation of the total number of migrants without a regular permit of stay is about 540 thousands. The rates related to the latter estimate are higher in Southern Italy (27 per cent) than in Central- Northern regions (14 per cent) and about 16 per cent at national level. Some important changes can be stressed as regard to the geography of origin. If in the early 1990’s the pair “North Africa – Central East and South Asia” was still dominating the scene, in the new century Eastern Europe and (to a lesser extent) Latin America have become the privileged areas of origin of migration flows. On 1st July 2005 the most frequent sending country is Albania (460,000 units), followed by Romania (430,000) and Morocco (400,000), whose showed unquestionable leadership until few years ago. At the same time the number of migrants coming from a new entry like Ukraine has become higher than those from a traditional origin like Tunisia; even small countries like Ecuador (90,000 units) or Moldavia (70,000) are becoming more and more important. Therefore, it seems that migration flows to Italy have been recently reoriented -even if without any explicit project- to a pattern of “more similar migrants”: east European instead of North Africans and, conversely, Christians (often Catholic) instead of Muslim.

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Presented in Session 35: What we talk about when we talk about international migration