Two mothers waiting for their children to leave a school in Lodi, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Daniel Dal Zennaro
Two mothers waiting for their children to leave a school in Lodi, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Daniel Dal Zennaro

Almost 7 out of every 10 Italians believe that racism towards migrants in the country has risen over the past year, according to the latest report by the social and economic research institute CENSIS.

A majority of Italians believe that hate, intolerance, and racism towards minorities has risen in recent times, the 53rd report by the social and economic research institute CENSIS published on Friday shows. 

69.8% of those questioned by CENSIS said that they believed that, over the past year, there has been a rise in incidents of intolerance and racism towards immigrants. 

The highest number of those expressing this belief were in central Italy (75.7%) and southern Italy (70.2%), and among people over age 65 (71%) as well as women (72.2%). 

Reasons for racism 

Some 50.9% of those that see a rise in racism said it was due to economic difficulties and a general lack of satisfaction among the population. 35.6% said it was due to growing fear of falling victim to crimes. 23.4% said that it was due to there being too many migrants in the country and 20.5% said that Italians are not open and willing to help migrants. 

Anti-semitism also seems to be on the rise as well -- 58% of all interviewees said they saw a rise in anti-Semitism. 

Rise in foreign students in schools halts

A sharp rise seen in recent years of students not holding Italian citizenship seems to have halted, the report showed. In the 2018-2019 school year, there were 857,729 students without Italian citizenship -- that's 10% of all students. The number of foreign students increased by just 15,628 (1.9%) compared to the previous year.

Between 2003 and 2007, Italian schools took in between 67,000 and 72,000 new non-Italian students every year. Some 63% of them were second-generation immigrants. 

The CENSIS report shows a slow but progressive improvement in educational benchmarks for foreign students. Over 90% of school principals interviewed by CENSIS said that the level of integration of students of immigrant origin was good, especially those born in Italy, and 71% of them had not had to deal with problematic situations in the past three years. 
 

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