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Hard times for Italians: a new flux of emigration?


A century has passed since the great Italian emigration from the South to the USA. Those years seem far, but history may soon be repeating itself.

The economic crisis has put a huge strain on Italians, who now face times of great sacrifice  and hardship.

In ‘ Hard Times’ Dickens wrote “facts, facts, facts”. The title of this famous novel is unfortunately very modern, although Italy may have to change the above mentioned quote to “crisis, crisis, crisis”.

In such a period of harshness and imposed frugality, it is not surprising many Italians have decided  to move abroad in order to better their economic condition or to find a job, if they are unemployed.

If, in the years after the war, immigration meant moving from the south to the north of the country, today a lot of Italians are thinking about going abroad to find work and economic stability.



Surveys show that many have already left the country. The Italian national institute of statistics, ISTAT, has given an overview of what has been defined the phenomenon of the fuga dei cervelli, or “brains’ drain”, defined so because those who decide to leave the country are mainly graduates and researchers.

Another statistic underlines even more the  difficulty in which the intellectual Italian world may soon be finding itself into, that recording the difference between the number of emigrating graduates versus those immigrating to the country. The contrast between the flux of emigration and that of immigration is sharp, the Italians going abroad seven times higher in number than foreign graduates coming to our shores. The reason for this choice is mainly linked to the fact that Italy lacks investment in the field of research, and those desiring to work in this sector are often forced to leave the country.

Even those who have not planned an academic future seem to be more and more considering the idea of leaving Italy, because they have difficulties in finding a job good enough to provide financial stability.

After more than a century, the reasons behind Italian emigration seem to be almost the same, albeit with a different social and historical background.

From 1861 to 1985 more than 29 millions Italians left their own country to seek fortune abroad. Perhaps Italy will never see such a number of people leaving ever again, but we hope Italians will be able to overcome these hard times and, even more importantly,  will be given some good reasons  not to leave their beloved country.

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