Four million Italians living abroad: Report

Rome, Nov 20 ( Almost four million Italians are living abroad, according to a new report released Thursday.

The Migrantes Foundation said that there were 3.91 million Italian citizens living outside the country – in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. In 2008, the number was 3.73 million.

Migrantes, a Catholic organisation, said that of the total number living abroad, the majority – 2.18 million – lived in Europe, 1.52 million in the Americas, 126,000 in Oceania, 51,000 in Africa and 32,000 in Asia.

More than a third of the Italians living abroad were born outside Italy, according to Migrantes.

The top destinations for Italian immigrants are Germany, Argentina, Switzerland, France, Brazil, Belgium and the US. Over 54 percent of them come from the impoverished south of the country.

Most of the Italians who have emigrated come from the capital Rome, and the southern cities of Agrigento, Cosenza, Salerno and Naples.

Fifty-four percent of them are under 35 years old.

However, Italians over 65 years old (19.3 percent) outnumber Italians aged under-18 who are living abroad (16.6 percent).

In contrast, there are 3.89 million foreigners residing in Italy.

Migrantes also said that usually, Italians who live abroad had become more prosperous.

Many of them own a house, many have a second home in Italy, and spend their vacation in Italy and remain religious.

The report also said that there are at least 60 million people of Italian origin in the world, with 68 percent of them living in Latin America, 28 percent in North America, 3.5 percent in Europe and 0.5 percent in Australia.

“Without their courageous decision to emigrate and live abroad…Italy today would not be part of world summits of wealthy and developed countries,” said the report.

The Migrantes Foundation is part of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI).