Migrants attend a lesson at the hosting center for asylum seekers in Mineo (Catania). CREDIT:ANSA/ORIETTA SCARDINO
Migrants attend a lesson at the hosting center for asylum seekers in Mineo (Catania). CREDIT:ANSA/ORIETTA SCARDINO

In Italy, children and adolescents who were born to immigrant parents risk dropping out of school at an early age, partly due to their families' low income, according to a recent research by the Foundation Openpolis. The study found that nearly 30% of foreign households in Italy are in a condition of absolute poverty.

The children of immigrants in Italy are at high risk of being poorly educated due to a variety of reasons, according to a new study released by the Foundation Openpolis. The first reason is that foreign households often have lower incomes than Italian families, the research said. Economic deprivation, in addition to producing social exclusion, can also have a negative impact on education, the foundation said, noting that poverty affects in particular families with children. The rate of absolute poverty increases with the number of children, it said. 

The researchers stressed that economic hardship affects foreign households in particular with 30 percent of immigrant families reported to be living in absolute poverty. 

School dropout rate higher among foreigners 

Students of foreign origin who were born in Italy often overcome the language barrier easily, already at a young age, the study said. However, this does not guarantee that students acquire the linguistic proficiency required to be successful in secondary education. This is in part confirmed by the percentage of dropouts which is significantly higher among the offspring of immigrants with over one in three not continuing with their studies after middle school. 

Foreign children and teens represent 10.6 percent of residents in Italy under 18 who are overall 9.8 million. They often live in the center-north. In particular, 16 percent of minors in the Emilia Romagna and Lombardy regions are foreign. There is also a significant presence of underage foreigners in regions like Tuscany, Umbria, Piedmont, Veneto, Liguria and Lazio. In absolute terms, out of a million foreign residents living in Italy, 384,000 (nearly 40 percent) live in two regions: Lombardy and Lazio. 

The situation of foreign minors in Rome 

The city of Rome, with over 60,000 foreign residents under 18, has the highest percentage of foreign youths. Young immigrants tend to live in larger cities with 52 percent of foreign minors in Lazio residing in Rome, noted the study. Nearly 460,000 minors live in the capital, or 15.9 percent of residents. Foreign boys and girls are 63,000. Most of them live in Rome's low-income eastern suburbs. The presence of foreign minors is also high in certain central neighborhoods, such as Esquilino which has over 1,200 foreign children, or 27 percent of the total. In many of these areas, the study noted, the level of social vulnerability is higher than the Roman average, with the exception of the Marconi and Primavalle districts. 

In six out of 10, it reaches a high level, in particular in areas such as Esquilino, Borghesiana, Centocelle, Torre Angela, Alessandrina. In these districts, the percentage of potentially poor families is overall higher than the city's average (as in all of the areas examined by the research, with the exception of the Marconi and Torpignattara neighborhoods).

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