Population in Italy
With a population density of almost 200 residents per km², Italy is one of the countries with a high population density within the European Union. Although Italy’s population has roughly doubled over the course of the 20th century, the population has been declining since 2018 with -0.14% growth per year. At over 80 years of age, the Italian population has one of the highest life expectancies in the world and is therefore also one of the oldest societies.
In addition to the official Italian language, there are the regional official languages German and Ladin in Trentino-South Tyrol, French in the Aosta Valley and Slovenian in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. In addition, the other regional languages such as Sardinian, Greek or Catalan are in use.
According to directoryaah, the number of foreigners living in Italy has been increasing steadily since the 1990s and has now reached over 8% of the population. Around 120,000 Roma also make up the Italian population. Recently, the Italian population has also increasingly been confronted with illegal immigration from refugee areas, especially from North Africa.
Politics and economics in Italy
The Italian state is organized in a parliamentary republic. Special features of the Italian constitution, which came into force on January 1, 1948, are the central role granted to the parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, the strong emphasis on plebiscitary elements with the possibility of referendums, referendums and legislative initiatives as well as the powerful constitutional court. In contrast, the Prime Minister, as President of the Council of Ministers, has comparatively little formal influence.
The Prime Minister determines the general policy of the government and maintains the unity of direction in politics and administration by promoting and coordinating the activities of the ministers. However, he has no power, power to independently appoint or dismiss ministers.
The Chamber of Deputies of Parliament has 630 members who are elected at national level every five years. The Senate has 315 senators who are also elected for five years on a regional basis. Both chambers are involved in the legislative process on an absolutely equal basis.
The President of the Republic is the Italian head of state, who is elected by the united chambers of parliament and representatives of the 20 regions. He mainly performs representative functions, participates in the formation of a government and is commander in chief of the armed forces. In reality, it is not uncommon for him to play a decisive role in overcoming government crises that frequently occurred in the Italian Republic in the second half of the 20th century. His main power is to dissolve Parliament, but he cannot exercise it during the last six months of his mandate. Since every law requires the signature of the state president before it can be promulgated, he can at least temporarily prevent it from coming into force.
Italy is an industrialized country with what used to be a strongly controlled economy. During the 1990s, the state-owned companies were gradually privatized and the markets were opened and deregulated. With a gross domestic product of around 1.7 billion euros, Italy was the fourth largest economy in the EU in 2016 and the eighth largest economy in the world (2015). However, the regional north-south divide in terms of economic power is relatively pronounced. The heavily industrialized north contrasts with the underdeveloped and structurally weak south. Traditionally, the black economy is very high in Italy. Their share in the gross domestic product is estimated at 16 to 30 percent and offset accordingly in the total GDP.
According to ebizdir, the strength of the Italian economy lies in the manufacturing sector, especially in small and medium-sized family-run companies. The most important industries include machine, aircraft, ship and vehicle construction (Fiat Group), the chemical industry and the manufacture of electronic products (Magneti Marelli), which are mainly located in northern Italy around the cities of Milan and Turin.
The textile industry is also very well represented and stands for the epitome of Italian fashion with well-known brand names.
The most important Italian export goods also include products from the food industry (Barilla, Campari, Lavazza, Parmalat, Ferrero).
Italy has a wide variety of raw material deposits. The country’s important mineral resources are fluorite, coal, mercury, sylvine and zinc. The world-famous Carrara marble is quarried in the Apuan Alps around Carrara and Massa. There are large reserves of natural gas (Po Valley, Adriatic Sea) and oil (Basilicata, Sicily).
The service sector in Italy is mainly represented by major banks and insurance companies. Italy is one of the classic travel destinations in the world, which is why the tourism industry has also been an important source of income in Italy for decades.
Although agriculture only plays a minor role in the economy, it brings important products such as Italian wine, olive oil and various types of cheese (Parmesan) onto the world market.
Transport network in Italy
Italy’s road network covers approximately 182,000 kilometers (2009). Of this, around 6,600 km are motorways, most of which are privately operated and are therefore subject to tolls. The condition of the Italian roads is comparable to the German standard and is largely safe.
The length of the rail network is around 20,260 km, of which around two thirds are electrified. Italy has well-developed local and long-distance public transport as well as a 1,000 km long continuous high-speed line from Turin via Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples to Salerno. Another high-speed line between Genoa and Trieste, via Milan, Brescia, Verona and Venice is under construction and should be completed in 2022. Additional new and upgraded lines are planned between Palermo, Catania and Messina and between Naples and Bari. The original plan for a railway connection over a bridge to Sicily was discarded for financial reasons, but is still the subject of discussions.
Important passenger ports are located in Messina and Reggio Calabria, mainly because of the ferry traffic between Sicily and the mainland, but also in La Spezia and Genoa. There are direct ferry connections from Trieste, Bari and Ancona to the Albanian port city of Durazzo, as well as from Brindisi to Valona in southern Albania. Important sea and commercial ports are located in Genoa, Trieste, Taranto and Reggio Calabria.
Italy can be reached at 10 international airports. The main airports are in Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples and Palermo.