Italy Demographics

What is the population of Italy?

Population 62,402,659
Population Growth Rate 0.34%
Urban Population 68.4%
Population in Major Urban Areas ROME (capital) 3.298 million; Milan 2.909 million; Naples 2.373 million; Turin 1.613 million; Palermo 915,000; Bergamo 784,000
Nationality Noun Italian(s)
Nationality Adjective Italian
Ethnic Groups Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)
Languages Spoken Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German-speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)
Language Note Italian is the official language. There are significant French and German-speaking minorities, and Slovene is spoken by some. Many Italians are bilingual.

Italy Learning

What is school like in Italy?


The school system in Italy is free to all children. Textbooks are free for primary school, but students must buy their books beginning with the secondary level of school at age 12. The teachers are motivated to be good instructors, and the classes are about the same size as most classes in the United States, averaging about 25 students per class in primary school, and 21 students in secondary school.

Italian schools try very hard to keep up with the latest technologies. An important part of their courses includes instruction in both general technology as well as information technology, which focuses on ways to handle modern information, such as with the Internet.

Unlike schools in North America or some other areas of the world, Italian schools do not provide lunch for their students. Instead, children return home to eat in the early afternoon. Throughout Italy, the midday meal is the main family meal.

Education Culture

All children in Italy, regardless of their family’s original nationality, are required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 14. More than 90% will attend public schools, with private schools making up the rest. The classes, including the books and educational policies, were originally established and regulated by the national Ministry of Education, but Italy has begun transferring control to the schools themselves. This is a big change for the school system, but one that many people have wanted for a long time. It gives local teachers and leaders control over how their children are taught.

Children attend school for five to six hours daily, often six days a week, from September to mid-June.

Primary school is for students from 6 to 11 years of age. Here the schooling and books are free. Students aged 12 through 14 attend the next level of school, which is called lower secondary school. Although attending school is free, students must buy their own textbooks. Several years ago, children were only required to attend school until they turned 14, but that has increased in recent years to 16 and will continue to be raised over time until it reaches age 18.

After three years in lower secondary school, a student must pass an exam that allows entrance into higher secondary school, which lasts four or five years, depending on the courses the student studies. Each higher secondary school focuses on a particular area of study, such as science, teaching, language, the classics, technical school, or professional school. Art schools are also divided into various disciplines, including art, dance, music, and the dramatic arts. These higher secondary schools do charge tuition, and the courses of study differ with each school.

At the end of higher secondary school, students must pass an exam to graduate. After successfully doing so, they will either begin their careers or begin studies at one of Italy’s 63 universities.


School uniforms are not required for children in Italy, which is known as being a very fashion-conscious country. Thus, what a child wears to school is more likely to reflect what the other kids think is popular (or what their parents like!) and by local fashion than rules set by a school board or government agency.

Typical primary schools teach Italian, English, geography, math, science, music, art, physical education, technology (including information technology), and Catholicism. It might seem odd to have a religion class in school to many children in the world, but the Catholic Church has had a big influence on Italy for many, many centuries, and it is still the religion of 90% of the Italian population.

Lower secondary schools build on the classes that were taught in primary school, but they become more specialized. These courses are usually religion (Catholicism), Italian, English and other foreign languages, history, geography, science, math, technology, information technology, art, music, and physical education.

To School

Students often walk, ride bikes, or ride special school buses, depending on the distance from the school and individual circumstances. School begins at around 8:30 in the morning, and will last until approximately 1:30. Although there is time between classes to have a quick drink and visit the bathroom as needed, students return home for their midday meal, which is the main meal throughout Italy.

Italy Health Information

What are the health conditions in Italy?

Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 10.01
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 100%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 100%
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 9.5%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.3%
HIV/Aids Deaths 950
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 3.5
Infant Mortality Rate - female deaths/1,000 live births 3.12
Infant Mortality Rate - male deaths/1,000 live births 3.54
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 3.33
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 4
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth 27.7
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 19.8%
People Living with HIV/AIDS 140,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population 3.8
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 1.41

Italy Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Italy?

Life Expectancy at Birth 81 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - female 84 Years
Life Expectancy at Birth - male 79 Years
Median Age 44 Years
Median Age - female 45 Years
Median Age - male 43 Years

Italy Infant Mortality - per 1,000 live births

Italy median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 9
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 10.01
Median Age 44 Years
Median Age - female 45 Years
Median Age - male 43 Years
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population 4.47
Population Growth Rate 0.34%
Sex Ratio 0-14 Years - male/female 1.05
Sex Ratio 15-24 Years - male/female 1.01
Sex Ratio 25-54 Years - male/female .98
Sex Ratio 55-64 Years - male/female .93
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.06
Sex Ratio of Total Population - male/female .93
Sex Ratio Over 64 Years - male/female .74

Italy Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Italy?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical facilities are available but may be limited outside urban areas. Public hospitals, though generally free of charge for emergency services, sometimes do not maintain the same standards as hospitals in the United States, so you are encouraged to obtain insurance that would cover a stay in a private Italian hospital or clinic. It is almost impossible to obtain an itemized hospital bill from public hospitals, as required by many U.S. insurance companies because the Italian National Health Service charges one inclusive rate for care services and room and board.

In parts of southern Italy, the lack of adequate trash disposal and incineration sites has led to periodic accumulations of garbage in urban and rural areas. In some cases, residents have burned garbage, resulting in toxic emissions that can aggravate respiratory problems.

The U.S. Navy initiated a public health evaluation in the Naples area in 2008. After finding levels of bacterial and chemical contamination of potential health concern, particularly in samples of area well water, the Navy recommended all personnel living off-base in the Naples area use only bottled water for drinking, cooking, ice-making, and brushing teeth.

Italy Education

What is school like in Italy?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.5%
Literacy - female 98%
Literacy - male 98.8%
Literacy - total population 98.4%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
School Life Expectancy - female 17 Years
School Life Expectancy - male 16 Years
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 16 Years

Italy Literacy

Can people in Italy read?

Literacy - female 98%
Literacy - male 98.8%
Literacy - total population 98.4%
Literacy Definition Age 15 and over can read and write
Predominant Language Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German-speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)

Italy Crime

Is Italy a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Italy has a moderate rate of crime. You should exercise extra caution at night and at train stations, airports, nightclubs, bars, and outdoor cafes. If you are drinking heavily, your ability to judge situations and make decisions may be impaired, making you a target for crime. Young drinkers are particularly vulnerable to robbery and physical and sexual assault.

Petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, theft from parked cars, and purse snatching are serious problems, especially in large cities. Pick-pockets sometimes dress like businessmen. You should not be lulled into a false sense of security by believing that well-dressed individuals are not potential pick-pockets or thieves. Most reported thefts occur at crowded tourist sites, on public buses and trains, and at the major railway stations: Rome's Termini; Milan's Centrale; Florence's Santa Maria Novella; and Naples's Centrale at Piazza Garibaldi. For more information on trains and security, please see the Italian railway police’s advice for travelers. You should also be alert to theft in Milan’s Malpensa Airport, particularly at car rental agencies. Clients of Internet cafes in major cities are also targeted. Be careful with your bag or purse, as thieves on motor scooters are very quick and can snatch a purse off of your arm from a moving scooter. Resisting these thieves can be hazardous, as some tourists have suffered broken arms and collarbones.

Thieves in Italy often work in groups or pairs. Pairs of accomplices or groups of children are known to divert tourists' attention so that another can pick-pocket them. In one particular routine, one thief drops or spills something on the victim; a second thief assists the victim in cleaning up the mess; and the third discreetly takes the victim's belongings. Criminals on crowded public transportation slit the bottoms of purses or bags with a razor blade or sharp knife removing the contents.

Some travelers in Rome, Florence, and Naples have reported incidents where criminals used drugs to assault or rob them. These incidents have been reported near Rome’s Termini train station; at bars and cafes near Rome’s Colosseum, Colle Oppio, Campo de Fiori, and Piazza Navona; and at bars and cafes in the center of Florence and Naples. Criminals using this tactic “befriend” you at a train station, restaurant, café, or bar, and then offer you a drink laced with a sleeping drug. When you fall asleep, criminals steal your valuables and may sexually assault you. Some victims of these assaults in Rome have required hospitalization and two cases resulted in death.

Thieves are also known to have impersonated police officers in order to steal. The thief shows you a circular plastic sign with the words "police" or “international police" and then in perfect English asks to see your identification and your money. U.S. citizens should be aware that local police will generally exit their own vehicles when speaking with members of the public. Also, plainclothes undercover units rarely attempt to pull over vehicles without a marked car accompanying them. If this happens to you, you should insist on seeing the officer's identification card (documento) before handing over your wallet as impersonators tend not to carry forged documents. You should immediately report thefts or other crimes to the actual police.

Be alert to the possibility of carjackings and thefts while you are waiting in traffic or stopped at traffic lights. This has been a particular problem in Catania, Sicily. Use particular caution while driving at night on highways, when thieves are more likely to strike. U.S. citizens have reported break-ins of their rental cars during stops at highway service areas; thieves smash car windows and steal everything inside. The theft of small items such as radios, luggage, cameras, briefcases, and even cigarettes from parked cars is prevalent. Vehicles parked near beaches during the summer can be broken into and robbed of valuables. Lock car doors whenever you park and do not leave packages in your car in plain view.

The U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian law enforcement authorities in investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices. These devices are attached to legitimate bank ATMs, usually located in tourist areas, and capture the account information stored electronically on the card’s magnetic strip. The devices consist of a card reader installed over the legitimate reader and a pin-hole video camera mounted above the keypad that records the customer’s PIN. ATMs with skimming devices installed may also allow normal transactions to occur. The victim’s information is sold, traded online, or encoded on another card, such as a hotel key card, to access the compromised account.

Organized criminal groups operate throughout Italy, but are more prevalent in the south. They occasionally resort to violence to intimidate or settle disputes. Though the activities of such groups are not generally targeted at tourists, visitors should be aware that innocent bystanders could be injured.

Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.

According to Italian law, anyone caught buying counterfeit goods (for example, DVDs, CDs, watches, purses, bags, belts, sunglasses, etc.) is subject to a fine of no less than EUR 1,000. Police in major Italian cities enforce this law to varying degrees. You are advised to purchase products only from stores and other licensed retailers to avoid unknowingly buying counterfeit and illegal merchandise.

Italy Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Italy, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in Italy, but still illegal in the United States; For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.

Arrest notifications in the host country: You should try to remain aware of local laws and their implications. If you break local laws in Italy, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. If you are arrested in Italy, Italian authorities are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

Italy Population Comparison

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