Rome July 26

Italy has 4.4 million foreigners, but many returning home

Economic crisis driving many to leave the country

Italy has 4.4 million foreigners, but many returning home

Rome July 26 - Italy recorded a significant rise last year in the number of newcomers moving into the country, even as many were giving up and moving back home, the national statistical agency said Friday. The number of foreigners living in Italy rose by 8.2% in 2012 compared with the previous year, lifting the total foreign-born population as of January 1, 2013 to almost 4.4 million, Istat reported. That means about 7.4% of the Italian population was considered foreigners at that point. The number of foreign residents in 2012 grew mainly due to immigration from abroad (321,000 individuals), but in part also due to the births of foreign children (80,000), the agency said. However, the economic crisis also mean that 17.9% of foreigners in Italy, or about 38,000 people, left the country last year said Istat, adding its researchers suspect the number may have been even higher. That's because many foreigners in Italy are not officially registered with authorities.

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