For the first time in twenty years, the number of foreigners present in Italy down. Italy, in demographic decline for at least six years (on January 1, 2021, the total population was 59.25 million inhabitants), in 2020 also recorded the highest decline in the foreign population. In just one year, our country lost a total of almost 200,000 inhabitants and foreign residents decreased by 26,422 units (-0.5%), reaching 5,013,215. The times in which the foreign resident population compensated for the negative natural balances of the Italians therefore seem to be over.
The figure emerges from an anticipation of the last Statistical Dossier Immigration curated by Idos, which will be presented on 28 October at 10.30 in live streaming. The decline in foreign residents the outcome of several rumors of the demographic balance of 2020: registrations in the registry office of foreigners arriving directly from abroad, cancellations of foreigners who have left Italy for abroad, cancellations made ex officio due to unavailability or loss of requirements, acquisition of Italian citizenship by foreigners, births and deaths recorded in the year.
The increase in mortality
Looking at the difference between births and deaths, Italy records, also due to the pandemic, an increase in mortality leading to a natural balance of the total population negative for 342,042 units: the Italian component loses, between births and deaths, 392,108 people, while the foreign component, thanks to births, increases by 50,066. Foreigners, for their youngest age – reads the note – have suffered less from the lethal effects of the pandemic but, despite this, their mortality increased in one year by 25.5% (1,892 deaths more than 2019) and records the greatest increase in the North-West (+ 36.0%), most 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 thousand foreigners who have acquired the Italian citizenship.
In the case of non-EU citizens, the slowdown in the management of administrative procedures: only with the issuance of the residence permit, in fact, it is possible to register with the registry, which moreover occurs after a presence in Italy for a certain duration. From all these elements, explains the IDOS, the decrease recorded in 2020 arises. In 20 years, only in 2015 and 2016 there were slight decreases (respectively -4.203 and -12.409), but decidedly lower and recorded a posteriori by the ‘Istat (post census review). Instead, the drop in 2020 was the highest ever and, net of acquisitions of Italian citizenship and official cancellations, attributable to the pandemic (except for updates that Istat will communicate with the final data at the end of 2021).
The decline in work
In the labor market, the pandemic has produced an exceptional decline in overall employment (in all 456 thousand fewer workers: -2%) and, at the same time, a strong one reduction of unemployment (-271 thousand: -10.5%). Two apparently conflicting phenomena, but to be read together with the increase in inactivity (i.e. of those who do not have and do not seek work): pandemic, restrictions to combat the spread of the virus and closure of many activities during lockdowns, have strongly discouraged the search for work also among foreigners.
Less employed 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 natives), while inactivity grew by 16.2% (+ 3.1% for Italians). Foreign workers thus fell to 2,346,000, with a loss of 159,000 units (they were 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 percentage points lower than Italians, after 14 years the gap narrowed to just 2 points. And so, for the first time in the history of immigration in Italy, the rate of employment of foreigners it stands at a lower level than that of Italian citizens (57.3% compared to 58.2%), having decreased in the former to a much more intense extent (-3.7 against -0.6 percentage points).