Oxfam operators providing help to a migrant upon his arrival in Italy | Photo: Archive/Oxfam press office
Oxfam operators providing help to a migrant upon his arrival in Italy | Photo: Archive/Oxfam press office

Italy is third among European Union countries for the number of migrants present in the country, following Germany and the UK. That's according to an immigration report by Caritas and Migrantes. The top three nationalities for migrants in Italy are Romanian, Albanian and Moroccan.

The 28th edition of the Caritas-Migrantes "Immigration Report," released on Friday in Rome, revealed that Italy has the third-highest number of foreign residents in the European Union. Around 5.3 million foreign citizens legally reside in the country. That's nearly nine percent of the overall resident population.

Germany and the UK are in first and second place for the current number of foreign residents, respectively. Following Italy are France and Spain. While arrivals to Italy for work are down, those for asylum and humanitarian protection are up.

This year's immigration report takes its inspiration from Pope Francis' message and the theme of the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees - "It is not just about migrants." Consequently, part of the report is about Italian society.

On Sunday, during a special mass dedicated to the occasion, Francis unveiled a monument to migration in St. Peter’s Square as a homage to the displaced.

Foreign residents by region

Over half of foreign residents in Italy live in the country's north (57.5 percent), followed by central Italy (25.4 percent) and the south (roughly 12 percent). Only some 5 percent legally reside on the Italian islands, although that figure is on the rise.

The top five Italian regions for foreign residents are:

  • Lombardy (1,181,772 foreign residents, or 11.7 percent of the total population)
  • Lazio (683,409, or 11.6 percent)
  • Emilia-Romagna (547,537, or 12.3 percent)
  • Veneto (501,085, or 10.2 percent)
  • Piedmont (427,911, or 9.8 percent)
The top five provinces for foreign residents are:

  • Rome (556,826 foreign residents, or 12.8 percent of the total population)
  • Milan (470,273, or 14.5 percent
  • Turin (221,842, or 9.8 percent)
  • Brescia (157,463, or 12.4 percent)
  • Naples (134,338, or 4.4 percent)
Decrease in Italians offset by new citizens and residents

The Caritas-Migrantes report said that since 2014, the decrease in the number of Italian citizens residing in Italy is equivalent to the population of a large Italian city such as Palermo, which has 677,000 residents.

This decrease, however, has been offset by new citizens (more than 638,000) and a simultaneous increase in foreign residents (more than 241,000).

Even while taking into account the 3.7 percent decrease in the birth rate among foreign residents in 2018, which is increasingly similar to the Italian native population, migrants still contribute to population growth.

As of January 1, 2019, the foreign resident nationalities with the highest numbers in Italy were Romanian (1,206,938 people, or 23 percent of all migrants), Albanian (441,027, or 8.4 percent) and Moroccan (422,980, or 8 percent).

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