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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Italy: Still Grappling with the Crisis

Italy is famous for its luxury industry, art, and food. But these factors alone don’t suffice to make it attractive. The economic crisis is making life difficult for everybody, expats included.
  • Economy still suffering; job security affected
  • Italian climate much appreciated
  • Concerns about safety and political stability
  • Two-thirds of expats are women
  • Italian skills necessary, but easy to learn

Expat Statistics 2016

Expat Statistics for Italy — infographic

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Low Pay and Relatively High Prices

Italy’s economy is still suffering from an ongoing crisis, and the country is among the worst performing countries in the Working Abroad Index (66th out of 67). In fact, only 2% of expats in Italy think the state of the local economy is very good, compared to 17% worldwide. Also, job security is badly affected by the high unemployment figures and only 8% of expats are very satisfied with this factor, compared to 17% worldwide. Around 12% of the respondents work in tourism, where seasonal jobs could help explain the lack of job security.

Furthermore, only 45% of expats rate their financial situation positively, compared to 64% globally, and a paltry 3% say they have more than enough disposable income for their daily life, while the worldwide number is three times as high (10%).

“Taxes and salary bother me the most. They are not comparable to the cost of living.”

According to the Expat Insider 2016 survey respondents, incomes and prices don’t seem to be well balanced, since only 38% judge the cost of living positively, compared to 49% worldwide. Finally, expats are disappointed with their career prospects; in fact, only 32% consider them generally good, compared to 55% globally.

Good Travel Opportunities, Average Infrastructure

The legendary Italian climate is highly appreciated by the expat respondents: 78% say they are satisfied with the local weather, compared to 61% globally.

“The best thing about Italy? The food, the art, the beautiful cities, the beaches, the mountains, cheap public transport including trains …”

Also, there are a lot of opportunities to travel domestically or to neighboring countries, according to 84% of expats. However, Italy’s transport infrastructure does not find favor with quite so many survey respondents: only 19% of expat respondents deem it very good, compared to 29% worldwide.

Furthermore, expats appreciate the healthcare system in Italy, with 27% saying it is very affordable, compared to 21% globally. However, the quality of the environment is considered generally good by only 60% of expats, while two-thirds have something positive to say about this factor globally.

Finally, the recent political climate in Italy has become unstable, and only 7% of expats are very satisfied with the country’s political stability, compared to 25% worldwide. Also, expats feel a lack of personal safety, with only a quarter saying they feel very safe.

Italiano, per Favore

Something that stands out among expats in Italy is the proportion of women. In fact, they constitute around two-thirds of expats (63%) in the country. Also, one-fifth of expats moved to Italy for love, or to live in their partner’s home country, compared to an average of 12% worldwide. Around 69% of expats say it is easy to get used to the local culture, compared to 61% worldwide — maybe because they have acquired a taste of the culture thanks to their romantic history.

According to the survey respondents, speaking Italian seems to be a requirement in the country, and just 24% of expats think it is easy to live there without speaking the local language, compared to 43% globally. However, on a positive note, 54% of expats think that the language is easy to learn, compared to 37% worldwide.

Finally, settling in in Italy is considered very easy by only 9% of the respondents, while 16% worldwide think the same about their destination. These factors might help to explain why Italy is only ranked 45th out of 67 in the Ease of Settling In Index.

Family Life Is Not Always Easy for the Bambini

Italy is only ranked 38th out of 45 in the Family Life Index; according to the Expat Insider 2016 survey respondents, family life in general is rated very good by only 18% of expats in Italy, compared to 27% worldwide.

Moreover, only 6% of expats think that education options are very numerous and easy to get in Italy, less than half than worldwide (13%). This may well be one of the reasons why 46% of parents — against a global average of 31% — send their kids to local state schools, where most classes are taught in Italian. However, more than half of expat parents (53%) also say that education is easy to afford.

That doesn’t seem to hold true for childcare in Italy: only 6% of expats think it is very affordable, while 14% say the same globally

Further Reading