Rome

Almost 15 million Italians face economic hardship

Istat says 8.6 million in condition of serious hardship

Almost 15 million Italians face economic hardship

(see related stories) Rome, May 22 - Almost 15 million people, around a quarter of the population, in recession-hit Italy were living in some form of economic hardship at the end of 2012, Istat said in its annual report on Wednesday. The national statistics agency said 8.6 million of those people, 14.3%, were in a condition of serious economic hardship, more than twice as many as the 6.9% in this situation in 2010. Istat said it took many factors into account when determining whether a person is in hardship - whether they have savings to meet unexpected outlays; whether they can afford a week on holiday away from home; whether they are behind on payments for their mortgage or rent; whether they can afford an adequate protein-rich meal every two days; whether they can afford to adequately heat their homes, and whether they have money to buy items such as a car and a washing machine. It said 16.6% could not afford an adequate meal every two days, three times as many as two years ago. Over half, 50.4%, could not afford a week on holiday away from home, compared to 46.7% in 2011.

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