The unification of Italy in 1861 did not
create a tangible feeling for the nation, leaving traces
to this day. Most citizens feel primarily connected with
their home region and then with their province or
region, but a stronger Italian identity has gradually
emerged in recent decades.
Income and education are clear class markers. In the
individual workplace, the differences are large between
the academic and the one with simpler education. At the
same time, more respect, regardless of social class, is
shown to older people than is the case in, for example,
Sweden. At the bottom of the social ladder is the
growing number of immigrants from poor countries.
According to Amnesty International, immigrant labor is
being used in an unacceptable way in Italy, including
low wages or no wages at all. Racism is also a problem,
according to Amnesty.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Italy, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
The economic crisis in the 2010s hit hard on the
Italians and the proportion of poor people has grown to
around 10 percent of the population. Poverty is greatest
among immigrants and in rural areas in the south.
Welfare system under pressure
The Italian welfare system, which began to develop in
the 1930s, today includes, among other things, parental
benefit, health insurance, child benefits, social
assistance, unemployment benefits and pensions. However,
the economic crisis of recent years has led to
considerable savings within the system. Above all, the
pension system has deteriorated.
In the past, pensions ate up most of the welfare
budget. Full pension was given from the age of 60, while
the person wishing to quit at 57 but with a lower
pension. Now the retirement age is rising to 66 years
and seven months for both women and men. The reform,
which would be implemented in 2018, has been surrounded
by fierce political strife and led to extensive
The right-wing populist coalition government included
in the budget for 2019 a seven-billion-euro item for a
special national salary for the poorest groups in the
country. Individual residents will be able to receive
between EUR 40 and 780 per month in housing and income
support. Families with a lower total annual income than
EUR 100,000 will be able to receive up to EUR 1,300. To
receive a grant, those who are of working age must
participate in job training and accept yes to job
offers. Companies that employ a person with a national
salary will be able to deduct the employer's
The health care is organized at regional level, and
the municipalities are responsible for health centers
with GPs. In principle, public health care is free of
charge, but in connection with budget cuts in recent
years, income-related fees have been introduced in
specialist care. Visits to the house doctor and
emergency medical care are free.
Public care is not always top-notch, and those who
can afford it often choose private insurance and private
The social security system is funded by social
security contributions paid by employers and all
employees. The employers are the lion's share. The
amount of contributions paid depends on the amount of
payments made in each case. However, even those who have
never worked are entitled to a small pension. Health
care is financed through the tax system.
Family ties are strong in Italy. In the north, the
nuclear family dominates, but in the south and in the
countryside, in many cases, the oldest generation, as
well as close relatives, lives under the same roof as
the nuclear family. Traditionally, the husband is
regarded as the head of the family but in practice the
wife, who has daily contact with the children and
controls most of the home, has a strong position in the
In families where both gainful employment, an older
relative often takes care of the children, since fewer
than a tenth of the smaller children have a place at
Italian children are expected to help more in the
household than is the case in Sweden. If the family runs
a shop or some other small business, the children often
help there from the age of ten.
The family often hangs out at leisure, meets
relatives, takes evening strolls or goes to a
restaurant, especially on Sundays. Older children often
go to the local square on their own in the evenings to
meet peers. The young people usually live at home until
they get married, and many people then look for a home
near the parents' home.
Only at the beginning of 2016 and after a protracted
political struggle was a law passed that opened for
same-sex partnerships. However, the spouses do not have
the right to adopt each other's children.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
3 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
100.0 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
98.8 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
9.0 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
2,739 US dollars (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
36 percent (2018)
New savings plan is adopted
The new government decides on savings measures of EUR 33 billion, including
tax increases and deregulations. The property tax is reintroduced and gasoline
tax and VAT are increased. The savings plan is approved by Parliament.
Expert government is added
The economist and former EU Commissioner Mario Monti is appointed new head of
government for an expert government, without party politicians, where he himself
becomes prime minister and finance minister. Monti is supported in Parliament by
both the right and the left. The Senate approves the government with a record
majority, 281 votes against 25, and in the Chamber of Deputies the numbers are
556 against 61.
Under both domestic and foreign political pressure, Berlusconi promises to
step down and President Napolitano initiates negotiations for a new government.
The economic crisis deepens
Government debt is approaching € 2 billion, which corresponds to 120 percent
of GDP, and worries are rising in the EU to prevent the Italian government from
meeting the country's debt problems. The IMF and the EU demand quarterly
monitoring of Italy's budgetary measures, Europe's stock exchanges fall, and
interest rates on ten-year Italian government bonds set a record. Parliament
approves new savings measures.
Berlusconis is acquitted
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is acquitted of a charge of fraud and
embezzlement surrounding his broadcaster Mediaset.
Strike for savings
Several millions of Italians participate in a one-day strike against the
government's savings package and labor market reform. The Senate approves
austerity measures for € 54.2 billion, but Italy still gets the credit rating
lowered by credit rating agency Standard & Poors.
Increased saving rate
Following severe market pressure and speculation about the Italian debt
crisis, the government is forced to accelerate economic reforms and promise to
balance the budget as early as 2013 instead of the old target in 2014. The
European Central Bank guarantees the purchase of Italian government bonds,
allowing the government to sell them and meet budget expenditures. The
government disagrees but announces a large savings package. About 50,000 public
jobs are expected to disappear, and a solidarity tax is imposed on high incomes.
The refugee stream is increasing
Thousands of boat refugees continue to arrive on the island of Lampedusa. 25
people are found dead in the engine room of a Libyan refugee boat, and on
another boat, refugees testify that hundreds of people died during the trip and
left in the sea.
The IMF is pushing for savings
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) calls on the Italian government to push
through planned budget cuts following speculation that Italy could be the next
victim of the eurozone debt crisis. The government decides on tightening of € 48
billion with the aim of reaching the budget balance in 2014. Parliament approves
the proposal, which includes privatization of state-owned enterprises and
freezing of public wages. A controversial feature is reduced tax deductions for
Judgment against Berlusconi
An appeal court in Milan convicts Prime Minister Berlusconi's holding company
Fininvest to pay EUR 560 million in damages to the competing media company CIR
following a contentious deal in 1990. The ruling establishes an earlier verdict.
Defeat in referendum
The Berlusconi government is facing the people's verdict, when a referendum
is held on nuclear power and whether ministers should be granted immunity from
prosecution. The government loses in all matters. 94 percent say no to
reintroducing nuclear power.
The government loses local elections
Prime Minister Berlusconi suffers a severe political setback when his party
coalition, after 18 years, loses power to the left in his home city of Milan's
local elections. Even in Naples, Berlusconi's party friends are losing power.
Time for criminal cases is reduced
After a heated political debate in Italy, Parliament's lower house, the
Chamber of Deputies, decides to shorten the time that certain criminal cases can
go on. This means that a trial in which Berlusconi is accused of bribery may be
finalized before a verdict is dropped.
Berlusconi before the court for sex purchases
Prime Minister Berlusconi is facing trial accused of having paid for sex with
a minor nightclub dancer and for abusing his position as prime minister.
Berlusconi is alleged to have exploited a 17-year-old Moroccan who participated
in parties at the Prime Minister's Villa for payment. According to Berlusconi,
the charges are unfounded, but the political opposition demands that he resign.
Berlusconi is on trial
Berlusconi appears in a lawsuit where he himself is prosecuted. The
prosecution concerns corruption in his media company Mediatrade.
The refugee stream is increasing
Tunisian migrants are being followed by refugees from the war in Libya, and
the refugee issue is creating political strife in the government, where the
Confederation of North warns against mass invasion. Many of the refugees arrive
on the island of Lampedusa. Berlusconi travels to the island to calm the locals.
Increased power for the regions
Parliament adopts a disputed tax package that involves decentralizing power
to the regions; The change is a requirement from Berlusconi's coalition partner
Refugee wave from North Africa begins
The political turmoil in Tunisia causes thousands of Tunisians to cross the
Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where the authorities cannot
handle the situation. Italy requires EU support.
Women against Berlusconi
Hundreds of thousands of women are demonstrating throughout Italy for women's
dignity and against Berlusconi's view of women, which is described as part of a
major Italian social problem.
The road opens for prosecution against Berlusconi
The Constitutional Court declares that judges must decide on a case-by-case
basis whether a minister should be forced to stand trial. This means that
Berlusconi no longer has immunity from prosecution and can be brought to justice
for tax fraud and bribery.