ISTAT said Wednesday that 5.6 million people in Italy were living in conditions of absolute poverty in 2021, adding that this meant the scale of the problem remained at the record level registered the previous year.
The national statistics agency said 9.4% of the population was in absolute poverty, the same level as in 2020. It said 1.4 million minors, 14.2% of the population under 18, were living in conditions of poverty. It said 1.9 million households in Italy were in absolute poverty.
Although the number of poor families have grown, according to Istat, the measures introduced by the government to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – benefits, emergency income, layoffs – have helped limit the crisis’ impact on them.
Poverty has increased more in the north of the country, where the cost of living is higher, although in absolute terms the south remains more affected.
According to Maurizio Landini, the secretary of Italy’s main trade union, the left-wing CGIL, “poverty increases because one is poor even when working.” In Italy “there is too much precarious work,” he added.