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Migration in Italy Is Backing the Old Age Welfare


Immigration in Italy became sizable at the end of the 1980s, with initial inflows from the Mediterranean countries, together with the Philippines, Latin America and some Sub-Saharan countries (including Senegal and Ghana). In the 1990s, following the dissolution of the socialist block and URSS, inflows increased at a higher pace, and the composition also changed with migrants coming from Albania and the other Eastern European countries. Poland was an early contributor, later replaced by Romania, Ukraine and Moldova.


  • Household Service Sector
  • Years Since Migration (YSM)
  • Romanian Migrants
  • Italian Labour Market
  • Romanian Community

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We would like to thank Daniela Piazzalunga and Laura Bartolini for their excellent assistance. Daniela Del Boca thanks Collegio Carlo Alberto and Alessandra Venturini the Migration Policy Center at the EUI and the Economic Department for technical and financial support. The authors thank also the anonymous referees as well as the editors of this volume for providing a number of suggestions that helped to improve the chapter significantly. We remain responsible for any mistakes still present.

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  1. 1.

    For a survey see Del Boca and Venturini 2005; Fasani 2008; Faini et al. 2009; Damuri and Pinotti 2010; Castagnone and Pastore 2012; Marchetti and Venturini 2013.

  2. 2.

    The data on residency permits only included the Romanian community until 2007. Thus, post 2007, we used the information available in the Population registers, which have annual data and which is released by Istat at or the Labour force survey and the Labour force survey, which provide individual data, available at released by Istat every quarter with a sample survey of around 170,000 individuals.

  3. 3.

    See ISMU Report 2012, CARITAS 2011 and Pastore Villosio 2011.

  4. 4.

    See Pasquinelli and Rasmini 2008; Marchetti et al. 2012.

  5. 5.

    Source ISMU 2012.

  6. 6.

    For more detailed analyses of irregular employment among Eastern European migrants in Italy, see Marchetti et al. (2012).

  7. 7.

    The interviews are conducted each year in Lombardy and 1,000 migrants are sampled.

  8. 8.

    Only Ukrainians have a higher value at 8.5 %.

  9. 9.

    All EU-citizens minus Romanians.

  10. 10.

    If the comparison is limited to the employed population, the share of native with Tertiary education grows to 18 %.

  11. 11.

    The probability of return is modeled as in Venturini and Villosio (2008) as a function of the income per capita.

  12. 12.

    Fullin and Reyneri (2010) model the assimilation as social class upgrading and the duration of stay in the country with the level of education as the factors favouring social upgrading for both woman and men.

  13. 13.

    Gavosto et al. (1999) Do Immigrants Compete with Natives? Labour 13(3): 603–622 which use the Social Security data, matched employed employees dataset (WHIPS).

  14. 14.

    They use the Bank of Italy employment survey, which has a retrospective question capturing the transition from previous jobs or unemployment into employment or vice versa.

  15. 15.

    With the LFS reduced form equation of female labour supply individual characteristics (age, education, children, marital status etc.), female unemployment, GDP per worker, population density, female immigrants specialized in household production lagged one year, regional fixed effect and interaction by region and year to capture regional business cycle. Instrument migrant working for the household with previous allocation of male immigrants.

  16. 16.

    Contrary to previous research, Pellizzari shows that migrants use the welfare state more than natives if the regional level of services is also included.

  17. 17.

    Ferrera (1996) classified Italy apart from other Southern European countries with family-based welfare state, on the basis of the high level of fragmentation in the social protection system (generosity of some benefits, old age pensions and health care, as well as the low degree of intervention in the welfare sphere).

  18. 18.

    IRES 2009.

  19. 19.

    Fondazione Brodolini (2004), GALCA Project, Final Report (Part 1)

  20. 20.

    Istat, Censimento generale della popolazione, 2001.

  21. 21.

    Bettio et al. (2006) Change in Care Regimes and Female Migration. Journal of European Social Policy 16(3).

  22. 22.

    Given the data limitation we had to exclude Val d’Aosta, and to combine Abruzzi and Molise, thus we have only 18 regions.

  23. 23.

    In order to select the countries to include we looked at the LFS and the number of foreign people working as skilled professionals in health and social services (cod.531), and as unskilled workers in household services (cod. 822). Source:, population register, at 1° January

  24. 24.

    Source:, population register.

  25. 25.

    Source:, labour force survey.

  26. 26.

    Source: Ministero del lavoro e delle politiche sociali, (novembre 2011) Second Report on self dependency in Italy, p. 21. Data from Health Ministry (SIS-Sistema Informativo sanitario). They include only people in residential structures publicly or privately recognized by the National Health Service.

  27. 27.

    Source: Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, (novembre 2011) Secondo rapporto sulla non autosufficienza in Italia, p. 21. data from ministero della salute (SIS-Sistema Informativo sanitario). Residential assistance includes both medical and non-medical assistance. In 2010 84 % of people assisted were 65 years or older.

  28. 28.

    Hughes et al. (2004) International Survey of Gender and Long Term Care of the Elderly. Synthesis Report. European Commission and Fondazione G. Brodolini, Roma.


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Table 4 Resident population in Italy, in thousands, 2002–2012
Table 5 Employment by sectors (NACE): male, female, natives, total foreigners and Romanians
Table 6 Employment by occupation (ISCO) male, female natives, total migrants and Romanians
Table 7 Working age population 15–64 by level of education (ISCED): male, female, natives, total foreigners and Romanians
Table 8 Probability of being employed or unemployed in the LFS 2011

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Del Boca, D., Venturini, A. (2016). Migration in Italy Is Backing the Old Age Welfare. In: Kahanec, M., Zimmermann, K. (eds) Labor Migration, EU Enlargement, and the Great Recession. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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