In Italy, there are 10.048.000 people that live in relative poverty conditions (16,6% of the total population). Among them, 6.020.000 are absolute poor, which cannot purchase products and services to guarantee rights to live in dignity (9,9%) (ISTAT report on poverty in Italy, 2014). The rate among the southern families has increased for the 31%, comparing it to the north which remained stable.
Moreover, the 12,6% of the families is in relative poverty condition, and 7,9% in absolute poverty, with a threshold value of €972,52 per two components family, which is €18 lower than (-1,9%) the threshold value in 2012.
The 22,6% of children in Italy is at risk of poverty. Children poverty means that the families have a too low income to guarantee the needs for their adequate physics, physical, intellectual, and social development. The data shows that the percentage of absolute poverty among this segment is the highest in the last 15 years, with an increase of the 3,3% compared to the 2006 data. Moreover, the adult at risk of poverty diverges at 8,2% compared to the underage.
Juvenile poverty increase with the number of underaged within a family. The incidence of poverty is increased from 14,9% to 17,6% for families with one underage child, from 17,5 to 20,7% for families with two underaged, and from 32,3% to 36,3% for families with three or more children, from 2006. However, the average of numerous family is decreased in the last twenty year, yet the southern regions’ incidence is 10% higher the northern regions.
Italy have inner differences in terms of poor concentration, who born in the southern regions have a much higher probability to grow up in a poor family. The data shows that the incidence of poverty is below to the national average in the Northeast (14%), North-west (10,9%) and Centre (13,2%) regions; the south of Italy has a 40% underage poverty rate, and 44,7% in the Islands. Therefore, it can be seen that there is inequality within the country regions.
Facing these preposterous data, Italy outclass Germany (that is the only county with an elder index higher than Italy) in the percentage of the GDP dedicated to the pension fund, yet it is among the bottom positions for public funding to the support of families, youth, and maternity (1,3% of the GDP against the European average of 2,2%)!
In the recent years, Italy’s legislation has launched different initiative directed to the support of families with underage children (such as Bonus Bebé, fiscal deductions, and allowance for numerous families), which have had small-scale and scarce effectiveness. In addition, a Eurostat study displayed that the public intervention has relieved 3,8% of underage at risk of poverty in 2010, but this data is far from countries like UK (14,%), French (13,5%) or Germany (11,1%).
It is not only the family’s income to define the poverty condition of the children, yet it is critical to consider the network of opportunity and services that guarantee a healthy child growth, such as kindergartens, good quality schools, and other elements (for instance, favourable playground in cities). Data to proof the inefficiency of poverty relive to children can be shown by the usage of public Kindergarten by children between 0 and 2 years old, that differs widely by regions: from Emilia Romagna (28,5%), Umbria (27,7%), Valle d’Aosta (25,4%), to Calabria (3,5%), and Campagna (2,7%).
In conclusion, there is an urgency to stop this trend by launching a plan at a national level to fight the underage poverty, focusing more on the southern regions of Italy. Firstly, it will be adequate to adapt to the European trend of public spending dedicated to the youth, from the actual 1,3% to the 2% of the GDP as the goal for 2020. The redirection of the public spending determinates a sustainable source of resources without the necessity to raise taxes to provide more state income. The fiscal resources will be used to implement tax relief for parents with dependent children, vouchers to guarantee the purchase of essential products, develop the services to additionally support parenthood, and a special investment plan for the creation of kindergartens. Moreover, guarantee funds should be created to support entrepreneur mothers to facilitate the credit access. Finally, any new legislative measure will have to validate also in terms of the childhood impact. These policies aim to improve the life of the families in general and create the most sure-fire route out of poverty for 300.000 kids.