AGI – Italy, in demographic decline for at least six years, in 2020 records, for the first time in 20 years to this part, even the highest drop in the foreign population. In just one year, the country lost almost 200,000 inhabitants in total and foreign residents decreased by 26,422 units (-0.5%), reaching 5,013,215.
It is an anticipation of the data from the 31st Immigration Statistical Dossier edited by the Idos Research Center, according to which “the times in which the foreign resident population compensated for the negative natural balances of the Italians ”.
The decline in foreign residents is the result of several items in the 2020 demographic balance closures due to pandemic containment measures, enrollments from abroad (177,304) of foreign residents drop by a third (-33.0%) compared to 2019 and slightly less (-30.6%) than the average of the last five years.
Foreigners canceled for abroad have also almost halved (29,682): 48.4% less than in 2019. The difference between foreigners enrolled from abroad and foreigners canceled for abroad is positive (+147,622), but lower than about 58 thousand units compared to 2019. As for the difference between births and deaths, Italy records, also due to the pandemic, a increase in mortality leading to a natural balance of the population total negative for 342,042 units: the Italian component lost, between births and deaths, 392,108 people, while the foreign component, thanks to births, increased by 50,066.
Foreigners, for their younger age, have suffered less from the lethal effects of the pandemic but, despite this, their mortality increased by 25.5% in one year (1,892 deaths more than in 2019) and records the greatest increase in the North-West (+ 36.0%), more affected by the spread of the virus . Although the foreign migratory balance and the natural balance are also positive in 2020, foreign residents drop due to 118,949 cancellations for “other reasons” (unavailability or expiry of the residence permit) and 133,000 foreigners who have acquired Italian citizenship.
“From all these elements – explain the authors of the Dossier – comes the decrease recorded in 2020. In twenty years, only in 2015 and 2016 there were slight decreases (respectively -4.203 and -12.409), but much lower. Instead, the drop in 2020 is the highest ever and, net of the acquisitions of Italian citizenship and official cancellations, it is attributable to the pandemic (except for updates that Istat will communicate with the final data at the end of 2021) “.
The decline in employment
In the labor market, the pandemic has produced an exceptional decline in employment overall (456 thousand fewer workers: -2.0%) and, at the same time, a strong reduction in unemployment (-271 thousand: -10.5%): “two apparently contrasting phenomena, but to be read together with increase in inactivity (i.e. of those who do not have and are not looking for work): pandemics, restrictions to combat the spread of the virus and closure of many activities during lockdowns, have the search for work is strongly discouraged even among foreigners”.
The number of foreign workers, in continuous growth since 2004, in 2020 decreased by 6.4% (-1.4% for Italians), unemployment by 12.4% (-10.1% for Italians), while inactivity grew by 16.2% (+ 3.1% for Italians). The foreign workers thus fell to 2,346,000, with a loss of 159 thousand units (it was 2,505,000 in 2019). Nevertheless, due to the consistent loss of employment even among Italians, the incidence of foreigners on the total does not decrease (10.2%).
If in 2004 the inactivity rate of foreigners was 12 points lower percentages compared to Italians, after 14 years the gap has narrowed to just 2 points. And so, for the first time in the history of immigration in Italy, the employment rate of foreigners is lower than that of Italian citizens (57.3% compared to 58.2%), having decreased among the top to a much more intense extent (-3.7 against -0.6 percentage points).