Dec 24, 2010

Italy and Immigrants

A nice work from Some data about immigrants in Italy put together into an easy video (in italian). Simple data yet relevant since here you often hear weird things that are not supported by facts.
That's the video:

And here some stats for a quick look...

Too many immigrants in Italy?
Some people are worried about being invaded by immigrants, they are too many. Yes immigration has been raising quite fast; but the truth is that regular immigrants are about 7% of the population, irregular are 1% (Istat). Not that much compared to other countries like UK, Spain, France, Germany and USA, all above 10% (Banca d'Italia).

Are they coming by boat?
People are worried about immigrants coming illegally by boats. We often see that in the news. But actually a large majority of them, 73%, come in Italy with a tourist visa and then they just don't go back home (Ministero degli Interni).

Are immigrants not educated?
Not really their education level is generally below that of italians by just few percentage points (Istat, Banca d'Italia). So if they are not educated, we aren't either.

We should allow immigrants to come only for work...
Actually they already do that. Perhaps they would do that anyway. Probably people tend to move with the hope of getting better life conditions. Isn't that quite related to having a job, at least for a majority of honest people? The fact is that immigrants show higher rates of employment than italians (Banca d'Italia, Istat).

They steal our job...
Not much evidence about that, immigration might even be beneficial for high skilled local workers (Banca d'Italia). No evidence of an effect on wage of local workers (INPS).

I don't want to pay for them...
But actually they pay for us. They pay 4% of taxes, while they consume only 2.5% of public expenditure (Istat). And they eventually pay our pensions.

Immigrants are bad for criminality...
The immigrants crime rate has been diminishing, but still that's true: even though they are less than 10% of the population, they account for over 25% of crimes and over 35% of jail population (Istat, Ministero di Grazia e Giustizia). But notice that the gap between share of immigrants and crime rate is quite accentuated in Italy with respect to other countries (European Source Book of Statistics), so the question is: why do that gap is higher in Italy than in other countries? And as correctly noted in the video: are we interested in reducing crimes in general or crimes from immigrants? And since the number of crimes per inhabitant is quite stable while immigration did increase (Istat, Ministero degli Interni), then it looks like immigrations is not really raising crimes... maybe immigrant criminals steal the "job" to italian criminals...

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