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Poverty in Italy - statistics & facts

An person living in Italy with less than 657 euros per month is considered poor. For a household with four members, this amount is around 1.8 thousand euros. In total, about 1.7 million families and 4.6 million individuals in Italy are living below the poverty line. In 2019, the incidence rate of absolute poverty among families in Italy was 6.4 percent. Generally, larger households are more likely to live in absolute poverty compared to smaller families: some five percent of couples with one child are affected by absolute poverty in Italy, whereas parents with three and more children as well as households with more family nuclei represent the most threatened groups.

A serious issue linked to poverty among households is the high number of children living in poor economic conditions. Among OECD countries, Italy ranks sixth in terms of proportion of children living in poverty. In fact, children aged up to 17 years old make up the largest share of population in Italy living below the poverty line. Similarly, around 30 percent of children are living at risk of poverty or social exclusion, which means that a large share of infants in Italy live in low-income households. People are considered to be at risk of poverty when they have an income equal or lower than 60 percent of the median equivalized income. Indeed, unemployed individuals are more frequently those living in absolute poverty.

Even when households do not live in severe poverty, various material deprivations might affect them. Larger households more often have to renounce on some goods or activities which are considered essential for a decent life, according to national standards. For instance, almost half of households in Italy with five or more members cannot afford to go on holidays for a week per year. Furthermore, large households might more frequently not be able to heat their houses adequately due to the high cost of bills or cannot afford to buy certain more expensive food several times a week. Nevertheless, such difficulties are faced also by small families or by people living alone. For instance, approximately half of one-person households in Italy cannot afford holidays, while 12 percent of them cannot buy meat or fish on a regular basis.


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