Millions of Italians cannot afford to heat their homes properly or eat meat as their country is racked by recession and soaring unemployment, said a report which found the number of people considered seriously deprived had doubled in the past two years.
The findings from national statistics institute ISTAT underline the scale of the challenge faced by the new coalition government of Enrico Letta, which has vowed to stimulate growth and tackle a youth jobless rate of almost 40 percent.
A recession that has lasted almost two years has taken a heavy toll on ordinary Italians who are increasingly digging into their savings, ISTAT said in its annual report.
Italy has the highest level in Europe of young people who are neither in education nor employment, at 23.9 percent, the study showed. In Italy’s impoverished south, one in three people aged 15-29 fell into this group.
The number of people living in families considered to be seriously deprived has doubled in the past two years to 8.6 million, or about 14 percent of the population, ISTAT said.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor