The 2021 Italy Report: Press Release
33RD ITALY REPORT
FOR A NEW RE-CONSTRUCTION
“Programming is not to project the present into the future, but the opposite, to have an idea of the future to implant into the present”
The Italy Report, now at its 33rd edition, focuses on six chapters, each of which offers a dichotomous reading of the examined reality. Each chapter is illustrated through essays and 60 phenomenological tables. Therefore, through a dual reading of reality, themes that the Institute considers representative of Italy’s current political, economic and social situation are addressed.
The thematic dichotomies identified for the Italy Report 2021 are:
Continuity / Fracture – Oikos/Kosmos – Sustainability / Unsustainability – Science / Conscience – Health/Illness – South/North
The Report is enriched by sample surveys which, in this year’s edition, explored some of the traditionally proposed themes by Eurispes and others of recent interest: trust in institutions, opinions on some of the measures proposed or introduced by the Government, the economic situation of families and consumption, the idea of the future among young people, stereotypes and political correctness, ethical issues, stereotypes about the North and South of the country, the world of animals, new eating habits, stalking, mental health and the use of drugs, information through the media, the world of scouting through the survey conducted in collaboration with Agesci, remote working, and changes in habits due to the pandemic.
For young Italian women, the family has lost its central importance. Young Italian women express a dual orientation (towards the social and professional sphere and towards the family), which requires a balance between the demands of daily life and plans for the future. They recognise the importance of education (79.1%) and career (78.1%), work (81.1%) and money (84.8%), independence and personal freedom (77.5%), freedom of speech (76.7%) and adherence to ideals and principles (78.5%), as well as the importance of the family (78.4%) and children (78.3%).
So much desire to grow up: only 17.9% of young Italians want to stay with their parents. But in other countries, there is a greater desire for autonomy. 82.1% of young Italians expressly state that they want to lead an independent life in the future and believe that the optimum age for this change of life is 23.7 years (average value). Only 17.9% of young people want to continue living with their parents. In an international comparison, the choice of an independent life rises, compared to Italy, to 95% in France, 90.8% in Poland, 90.4% in Russia. The willingness to stay with parents is lower in these countries than in Italy: 5% in France, 9.2% in Poland, 9.6% in Russia.
Fear of leaving for economic reasons. Among the poorest, a third of young people do not want to leave their parents. Young people’s choice to stay in the family is 24.6% among low-income families, 18.3% among middle-income families, 13.8% among high-income families.
How many children would you like? The ideas of young Italians on the ideal number of children (2.2 children) are slightly higher than the figure needed for simple generational reproduction (for other countries, the indications are: France 2.0, Poland, 2.2, Russia 2.0). When we then link this ideal projection to the actual living conditions of young people, their orientation drops to an average number of 1.61 children per woman. Even if we focus only on young people’s answers, the results are almost the same: an average of 1.64 children per woman (for the other countries, the following indications are recorded: France 1.1 children per woman, Poland 2.0, Russia 1.5).
The concept of wealth and poverty and their assessment. According to young Italians, a comfortable existence without unnecessary tensions is achieved when the monthly income reaches 2,349 euro.
What income would you like to achieve in 10-15 years? In 2020, with the deterioration of the actual situation of the economy, young Italians had become bolder in their plans for the future: their income estimates are 40% higher than the 2019 average (3,380 euros per month), and they have indicated a figure of 4,368 euros as a target. However, it should be noted that girls “dream” less big than boys: while boys set an income of €4,831 as their goal, girls stop at €3,878.
Young people: goals and self-fulfilment. The young people who took part in the survey state that, on average, they have achieved about 53% of their projects and that in 10-15 years, in their opinion, this percentage will rise to 76%. For comparison, in the pre-crisis year 2019, the starting position was higher (61.9%), but the achievement bar remained at the same level: 75.3%. Therefore, it is evident that young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are ready to fight for their goals and to progress by changing the current living and working conditions; at the same time, regarding the second half of their existence, the current youth leaves a margin of uncertainty about their self-realisation.
Deprivation and social exclusion. Among the deprivations indicated in 2020, due to the lack of money, the impossibility of enjoying a holiday period concerns 44.3%. The answers of almost a quarter of respondents who have stopped buying household items essential for the family (23.8%) and paying for medical care (22.7%) are very worrying.
Confident in the future are 66% of young Italians, even more so than in the past. Paradoxically, the Coronavirus epidemic has contributed to the growth (66.1%) of confidence in the future (in 2019, it was 55%), despite the lack of stability, rising unemployment and falling incomes.
Jobs and work: what young people expect in the future. In the 2019 survey, it was found that 57.4% of respondents were generally satisfied with their jobs and that only 13% of them intended to change their profession or field of activity in the future. The situation in 2020 led to an increase, which more than doubled, of those who significantly changed their view of their professional future, planning to change profession or field of activity. According to the 2020 survey, 30.4% of respondents intend to make changes in their professional life. Many motivated this desire to have their own business, engaging in entrepreneurship, working in psychology, human resources, tourism, fitness and sport. When it comes to planning their work, most young people concentrate on finding a job (35.2%), mainly in a private company (23.6%) rather than in a public establishment (11.6%). A quarter of the respondents want to start their own business (24.9). However, the open problem of 13% of young people who give up planning any job search remains.
Confidence in the country and the future is increasing. The opinion of young people on the current situation and in the 10-15 year perspective generally marks Italy with favourable judgements. Despite having gone through a very difficult 2020, young people indicated a “step towards the future” for Italy with a positive value of +1.81 points, higher than the increase in the country indicator in 2018, which marked a rise of +1.06 points.
The country’s social sphere received the highest index of increase in young people’s assessments of prospects (10-15 years), going from an evaluation of 4.5 points for the current situation to 5.9 points for the future, putting this improvement trend in the first place compared to the other areas of Italian community life.
The points of reference change: the appreciation of statesmen and politicians rise sharply. In 2020, compared to 2019, there was a change in the persons-leaders indicated concerning the various groups of authoritative persons: representatives of culture and art lost their leading role (from 40.4% to 9.3%), and the efforts of the State to combat the pandemic paid off: the majority of young Italians found role models worthy of imitation among state and political figures (25.5% in 2019 and 40.8% in 2020). Athletes are still considered a positive role model, mainly footballers (23.6%), followed by pop artists (20.8%) and scientists (19.1%). Business representatives (2% in 2019; 10.8% in 2020), TV journalists and presenters (with an increase for both from 3.9% to 13.2%, respectively) were recognised as role models, in increased terms compared to the past. Young people found far fewer examples of worthy behaviour among religious people (6.6%). Finally, many young people have no role models (23.3%).
The President of Eurispes explains: “The Covid-19 has brutally laid bare the criticalities underlying the construction of the Community and highlighted the urgent need for a change of strategy. At the same time, Covid saved the European Union because it forced it to intervene in areas of acute pain for citizens: the economy, work and health. Covid has also called into question the financial logic that had guided the EU’s actions in recent years and has made it clear that the economy and finance cannot be left alone to decide the fate of peoples and nations, and that States, and in this case Europe, as a whole can and must intervene in the face of epochal emergencies, but not only. This action represents a great opportunity for the EU to regain its reputation, role and trust with its citizens, precisely at a time when they were showing increasingly evident signs of intolerance”.
EUROPE: INDISPENSABLE FOR GETTING OUT OF THE CRISIS, BUT WE MUST COUNT MORE AS A MEMBER STATE. ON THE ARRIVAL OF EUROPEAN FUNDS THE CONFIDENCE PREVAIL, EVEN IF ONLY SLIGHTLY
The data collected by the Eurispes in 2021 offer a recent snapshot of the relationship between Italians and the European Union. The degree of distrust expressed by Italians towards Europe is 50.7%.
Although 1 Italian in 3 (33.5%) believes that Europe is fundamental for overcoming major crises, half of the citizens (51%) are convinced that Italy is a marginal state within the EU and that it is subject to the decisions of others: contradictions and ambivalence that cast light on a crucial issue that is now of primary importance for the country’s future. In fact, there is no shortage of those who believe that the European Union has demonstrated its uselessness in the pandemic: this is the opinion of one Italian in four (26%).
For more than a third of Italians (33.9%), the Recovery Fund funds will undoubtedly arrive, but sceptics account for around 30%.
WOMEN AND MEN STILL TOO MANY INEQUALITIES IN WORK AND SOCIETY. THE MOST DISCRIMINATED AGAINST: TRANSGENDER, HOMELESS AND GYPSIES
Is the distinction between men and women still valid?
According to the Eurispes survey (2021), the opinions of Italians are divided precisely down the middle concerning the traditional labels used to identify sexual genders (men and women). For 49.2%, they are still valid; for 50.8%, they are too rigid.
The majority of Italians believe that there is still inequality between men and women.
Unfair treatment based on gender is attributed above all to the world of work, which according to 63.1% of Italians, penalises women for economic recognition and career opportunities. According to 57.6%, there is still inequality in the division of domestic duties, and according to 55.5%, in the recognition of their role in society.
Who is most discriminated against in Italy? The results indicate that transgender people (69.7%), the homeless (67.4%), the Roma (65.3%) are considered the most discriminated against, followed by black people (63.4%), homosexuals (63.2%) and Muslims (61.2%). Women (56.8%) and foreigners in general (52.8%) were also treated unfairly. Jewish citizens are the object of discrimination for 39.8% of Italians, a minority quota but a significant and alarming one, which confirms the survival of forms of anti-Semitism.
NORTH-SOUTH: A SNAPSHOT OF ITALIANS’ IDEA OF STEREOTYPES
As far as the image of the North is concerned, the Centre and the South are the areas where the perception of having relations with Northerners indicated as normal is most widespread (in 70.5% and 70.3% of cases). Relationships with a more positive connotation, described as mutual helpfulness or even excellent, are more frequently woven in the Northwest (18.9%) and Northeast (18.6%) for the former and the Northeast (22.6%), followed by the Northwest (16.9%) for the latter. Hostility and deprivation are experienced more intensely in the Islands (11.4% and 9.5% of cases, respectively). The expression “they only think about work” to describe the character of Northerners is shared by 52.1% of Italians. Their high sense of civic duty is a particularly widespread opinion (59.8%). The image of the cold and detached Northerner resists over time: 62.3% disagreed with the statement “Northerners are very open”. More than half of the interviewees (57%) believe that the statement that northerners are racist is untrue.
On the other hand, as far as the idea of the South is concerned, it is the inhabitants of Central Italy who express, to a greater extent, a judgement of neutrality, describing their relations with southerners as “normal” (64.5%). Non-idyllic relations are experienced more intensely in the North-Eastern regions, which record the lowest number of answers concerning “mutual availability” (11.8%) and the highest number of totally negative answers (“unbearable” relations in 7.3% of cases). In 3.8% of cases, hostile relations were even mentioned in the North. The majority of citizens do not agree with the idea that people from the South have little desire to work (67.7%). Almost 7 out of 10 Italians (68.2%) believe that people from the South are generous. On the subject of the alleged ignorance and incivility of southerners, 24.2% agree with the first option overall, while the second is confirmed in 25.3% of cases.
ETHICAL ISSUES: IN FAVOUR OF PROTECTING DE FACTO COUPLES, HETEROLOGOUS COUPLES, EUTHANASIA AND LIVING WILLS. NO TO ASSISTED SUICIDE, SAME-SEX ADOPTIONS, SOFT DRUGS AND PROSTITUTION
For several years now, the Eurispes has been conducting a survey to identify the cultural changes that have taken place over time and those currently underway with regard to highly controversial ethical issues.
In 2021, 64.4% of citizens were in favour of legal protection for de facto couples regardless of sex, 67.8% in 2020 and 65.1% in 2019.
Seven out of ten Italians (70.4%) are in favour of euthanasia, with a loss of almost five percentage points compared to 2020 (75.2%); a result, however, that has risen sharply compared to a few years ago (55.2% in favour in 2015).
In 2021, 71.5% of citizens said they were in favour of a living will, compared with 73.8% in 2020. Assisted suicide has the highest number of indications of opposition (57.6%, 54.6% in 2020).
In favour of same-sex unions is 58.4% of Italians (+7.5% compared to 2019).
Adopting children for same-sex couples is starting to be a possible hypothesis (44.3%), even though most Italians are still against it (55.7%).
44.7% of citizens agree with the legalisation of soft drugs, and 48.3% would be in favour of making prostitution legal. In both cases, however, those against prevailed.
The possibility of using donors for medically assisted procreation (heterologous fertilisation) in 2021 is supported by 57.5% of Italians. The issue of the so-called “surrogate motherhood” is only partially accepted by public opinion (40.2%), compared with 59.2% of those against it.
The use of vivisection is considered unacceptable by 78.9% of Italians; the majority of citizens (63.5%) are also against hunting.
THE PSYCHE MARKET IS NOW WORTH ONE BILLION EUROS WORLDWIDE, BUT THE SSN INVESTS LITTLE IN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSISTANCE. THE DATA COLLECTED IN THE EURISPES SURVEY INDICATE THAT IN ITALY, ONE OUT OF FIVE RESPONDENTS (19%) HAS TAKEN PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS IN THE LAST YEAR. 27.2% HAVE TURNED TO A PSYCHIATRIST, 27.2% HAVE GONE TO A PSYCHOLOGIST, 5.6% TO A PSYCHIATRIST.
Mental health data: the purchase of anxiolytic and antipsychotic drugs is increasing. There is a risk of inappropriate prescribing
The Aifa (Italian Medicines Agency) monitoring of the purchase of drugs in Italy in correspondence with the health emergency records a significant increase over 2019 in the consumption of anxiolytics. An increase in the consumption of antipsychotics was also detected in March 2020. Twenty per cent of the population is reported to have experienced depressive symptoms during the pandemic (double the incidence of the previous period), and anxiety and sleep disturbances have increased. The Osmed Report (Aifa) confirms that about 12 million packs of antipsychotics are consumed in Italy each year. Let’s consider that of the 49 million packages of psychotropic drugs sold in Italy. 36.5 million of which are antidepressants and 12 million antipsychotics – more than 36 million packages of antidepressants are sold in pharmacies, while 565,000 are supplied by direct distribution (through mental health services or hospitals); the risk of inappropriate prescribing is obvious.
The global turnover of the sector is now estimated at around one billion euros – it has increased tenfold in about twenty years. Still, the National Health System continues to invest little in psychological care.
According to Eurispes data, almost one Italian in five (19%) has taken, in the last year, drugs such as anxiolytics, antidepressants, mood stabilisers, antipsychotics, i.e. the main types of psychopharmaceuticals. Anxiolytics and tranquillisers are the most widely used psychotropic drugs. In the last year, 72.9% of those who consumed at least one type of psychotropic drug used it consistently in 8.5% of cases, often in 19.4%, sometimes in 45% and never in 27.1% of cases. Antidepressants follow: 54% of the sub-sample never took them during the year, 5.6% did so always, 12.3% often, 28.1% sometimes. The quota of those who turned to a psychologist was significant: more than a quarter of the sample (27,2%). A psychiatrist was consulted by 5.6% of the interviewees in a process that usually also includes pharmacological support therapy. The least widespread practice is hypnosis, experimented in 3,5% of cases.
STALKING: ONE ITALIAN IN TEN HAS SUFFERED THIS CRIME, MORE THAN 80% OF VICTIMS DO NOT REPORT IT
About 1 in 10 citizens report having been a victim of stalking. The phenomenon has increased by 1.4% compared to 2020. Today’s figures are in line with 2014 when the incidence of stalking was 9.9%. The highest percentage of stalking victims is concentrated between 18 and 24 years old (13%) and among women, who are victims three times more than men. In 1 out of 4 cases (25,6%), the stalker is the victim’s ex-partner. Only 13.7% of the victims report the crime, and the reaction to the crime suffered in 50% of the cases is self-defence or no reaction at all, waiting for the stalker to stop harassing by himself.
THE EURISPES SURVEY ON EATING STYLES: STABLE NUMBER OF VEGETARIANS, WIDESPREAD USE OF ‘NO’ DIETS AND SUPPLEMENTS
The remaining part of the population is divided between 6.6% of those who say they are not currently vegetarian but have been in the past and 8.2% of those who say they are vegan vegetarians. For 23.1% of those who declared themselves vegetarian or vegan, this choice is part of a broader philosophy of life. For 21.3,% the decision is a health decision, and for 20.7% a respectful decision. 31.4% of Italians prefer products without sugar, without added fats, without the use of antibiotics, etc.; 23.5% choose products with added vitamins, minerals or other nutrients; 17.1% follow a diet regularly enriched with supplements; 17% choose lactose-free products and 13.8% gluten-free.
ANIMALS: WE FIND THEM IN 4 OUT OF 10 HOMES, AND THE TREND IS TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE. FROM 31 TO 100 EUROS IS THE MONTHLY EXPENDITURE DEVOTED TO THEM IN 63.4% OF CASES.
According to the Eurispes survey, in 2021, 40.2% of Italians will have animals in their homes; the trend is to have more than one. From 2018 to today, the share of those who have at least one animal is progressively increasing: 32.4% in 2018, 33.6% in 2019, 39.5% in 2020 and 40.2% in 2021. Dogs (43.6%) and cats (35.1%) are the most loved.
20.7% of those who have an animal received it as a gift, 19.3% got it from a kennel/cattery, 17.1% picked it up off the street, 13% bought it from a breeding farm, 12.3% bought it from a pet shop, 11.4% bought it from acquaintances or private individuals, 5.7% kept a puppy from an animal they already owned, and 0.5% bought it through the Net. 63.4% of those who have at least one pet spend between 31 and 100 euros per month. More than half of Italians, 53.7%, decide to have their pet sterilised, to which we could add a potential 21.1% who have not yet done so but do not rule out this hypothesis altogether.
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Methodological notes. The sample survey was carried out on a probability sample stratified according to the distribution of the population by sex, age group (18-24 years; 25-34 years; 35-44 years; 45-64 years; 65 years and over) and geographical area (North-West, North-East, Centre, South and Islands) resulting from the data of the last ISTAT Census. The questionnaires analysed totalled 2,063 and were administered between November 2020 and January 2021.