Demographic Imbalance and Immigration: The Case of Italy

Studi Economici e Sociali, Vol. 24, No. 4, 1989

17 Pages Posted: 25 May 2006

See all articles by Arnaldo Mauri

Arnaldo Mauri

Università Degli Studi di Milano


Demographic and economic imbalances are usually considered the chief determinants of the international migration streams which flow from backward regions into developed countries, but in the case of European south also geography plays a prominent role. African migrants crossing the Mediterranean are not moving from overpopulated countries and, with particular reference to the flow from south of Sahara, do not belong to the poorest strata of population. In fact, economic reasons are not exclusive and in some instances even less important than search of security and freedom from religious, ethnical and political bondage. Throughout post-war period Italy was affected by a significant internal migration flow from the Mezzogiorno to the northern industrial regions, but in the end-70s it was totally unprepared to handle a sudden migration from abroad. The country reversed, in fact, its position from exporter of labour to importer of people and the reversal of stream was not perceived promptly both by government and parliament in order to take due action at the earliest possible stage. Italy had to face the most impressive mass migration since the barbarian invasions that had brought to the collapse of the western part of the Roman empire in the early Middle Ages.

The paper focuses on social, political and economic issues raised by the impact of the new immigration in Italy and suggests suitable measures to deal with this dramatic problem. These proposals encompass a new admittance legislation for migrants who enter Italy as well as the adoption of an immigration policy based on planning and selection (mainly aimed at avoiding oversupply in some segments of the labour market and at excluding undesirable persons) and full integration into the Italian society.

Note: Downloadable document is in Italian.

Keywords: migration, selective admittance, integration policy, Italy

JEL Classification: F20, J61, N30

Suggested Citation

Mauri, Arnaldo, Demographic Imbalance and Immigration: The Case of Italy. Studi Economici e Sociali, Vol. 24, No. 4, 1989, Available at SSRN:

Arnaldo Mauri (Contact Author)

Università Degli Studi di Milano ( email )

Milan, 20122

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