Immigration vital to help mitigate Italy's demographic decline: report

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-09 16:43:51|Editor: xuxin
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ROME, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The contribution of migrants was a vital factor to tackle Italy's "dramatic" demographic decline, according to a report released here on Tuesday.

In 2018, around 5.2 million regular migrants living here, accounting for 8.7 percent of Italian total population, partially filled the gap created by nearly 250,000 young Italians who left the country in the last 10 years, said the Leone Moressa Foundation at a conference.

Since 2011, the Venice-based research institute has issued annual reports in cooperation with Italy's Ministry of Economy and Finance, assessing the impact of the migrant population on the country's economy and social fabric.

Last year, migrant workers in the job market were 2.45 million, or 10.6 percent of the overall workforce, and contributed about 9 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), or 139 billion euros (152 billion U.S. dollars) in added value, the report said.

At least 500,000 Italians left the country in the last decade, mostly to look for jobs, and almost half of them (248,000) were under the age of 34.

According to the report, Italy's youth employment rate for those aged 25-29 was 54.6 percent, far behind the European Union (EU)'s average rate of 75 percent.

"Considering the working skills of our younger generations, we can estimate such 'leakage' has cost us some 16 billion euros (17.44 billion dollars), or 1 percent of GDP (annual)," the foundation said. "This is the added value these young people would be able to produce, if employed in our country."

The estimate was based on data provided by the EU statistical office Eurostat, and on Italy's GDP in 2017.

Italy was seeing the potential base of its labor force shrinking, and registering a constant demographic decline that has made it the most ageing country in Europe already, the report noted.

People aged over 65 represented 22.8 percent of Italy's population in 2018, and would be over one-third by 2050, according to the report's projections based on demographic trends.