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Poverty reaches its highest level ever in Italy – Report

4.5 million people in Italy living in absolute poverty

The number of Italians living in absolute poverty reached its highest level for more than ten years in 2016, according to a report from the Italian National Institute of Statistics ISTAT.

According to the agency, the number of absolute poor in Italy rose to 4.7 million last year against almost 1.7 million in 2006. The figure represents 7.9 percent of the country’s population with most of them living in southern regions.

In the south of the country, 9.8 percent of people were living in absolute poverty, compared to 7.3 percent in central areas including the capital Rome, and 6.7 percent in the north, including the business capital Milan, the report shows.

Absolute poverty is defined as the condition preventing people from buying goods and services “essential to avoid grave forms of social exclusion,” according to ISTAT.