Immigrant residents in Italy decrease for first time since 2014: ISTAT

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ROME, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — The number of immigrants residing in Italy last year fell for the first time since 2014, Italy’s National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) stated on Monday.

Overall, some 286,000 foreigners were registered as residents in Italy in 2018, a 5.2 percent decrease against the previous year.

Inflows originated from Africa showed the most relevant change, with the number of immigrants from various countries in the continent falling overall by 17 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, the official statistics showed.

The largest groups among new residents were from Romania (37,000), Brazil (24,000), Albania and Nigeria (both 18,000), Morocco (17,000), Bangladesh and Pakistan (both around 13,000), India (11,000), Senegal (9,000), Ukraine (8,000), and Germany (over 7,000).

The most popular destinations among new residents depended on various factors, with the most relevant being “the offer of employment, the quality of life, and the presence of community or kin networks supporting family reunification,” ISTAT explained.

As such, northern Lombardy (Milan’s region) alone drew some 20 percent of all new residents, followed at distance by northern Veneto and central Lazio (Rome’s region) with about 10 percent, and then by all of the other regions.

At the same time, the ISTAT report showed the number of Italians who left the country reached 117,000 in 2018, or an annual rise of 1.9 percent.

Overall, ISTAT highlighted 816,000 Italian nationals had moved abroad in the last 10 years (2008-2018), leading to the country’s brain drain.

Among the emigrants over the 10 years, three out of four had “a medium-high level of education” and over 73 percent of them were aged 25 and over.

In last year only, the average age of those moving abroad was 33 years among men and 30 years among women, and men made 56 percent of them all.

Furthermore, the agency said the number of Italian emigrants with a medium-high level of education increased last year — by 1 percent among those with a high-school diploma, and by 6 percent among university graduates — over the previous year.

“The number of (Italian) emigrants with a medium-high qualification has grown by 45 percent in 2018 compared to five years before,” it added.

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