The Italian Almanac


Bamboccioni Still at Home

Young Italians are struggling more than ever to leave the parental nest, the latest figures show. Among young adults aged 18 to 24, roughly 92% of men and 82.5% of women live with their parents, according to 2008 Eurostat figures. The figures remain elevated for Italians aged 25 to 34, with nearly half of men - or 47.5 % - still living with their parents, and 32.7% of women.

The failure of young people to leave home - whether for lack of stable employment or inaccessible housing costs - has for years fed negative stereotypes, sucked life from the Italian housing market, and created drag on the economy. The late finance minister Tommaso Padoa Schioppa famously recommended giving a boost to the "bamboccioni" ("big babies") by offering them tax breaks on rental payments.

When "millenials" - the generation that turned 18 after 2000 - "enter the working world, they find a situation that is very different from that of previous generations. The barrier to entry has become more robust and the demand for labor is often unstable," wrote Monya Ferritti in the March issue of the Isfol Observatory, a publication of the Institute for Professional Workers Training Development (Isfol).

Young Italians are also reluctant to settle for just any work. Just 41.5% of respondents aged 18 to 29 said they would take any work offered to them, a 2008 Isfol study found. The number sank to 18% among those holding a university degree. In addition, Italians are largely disinclined to move. Almost 30% of respondents declared they would refuse a post that required moving. Four out of ten respondents who had actually received an out-of-town job offer in the 30 days prior to survey, turned the opportunity down.

"The situation for young people is particularly dramatic," commented Claudio De Angelis, director of Affitto Assicurato, a company specialized in rental housing insurance. "The (housing) market does not view young people as active players. They are almost entirely excluded; despite the fact that rent, until ten years ago, was the first step toward independence for young people".