Italy Population – Internal Migration and External Migration

Italy Population – Internal Migration and External Migration

The increase in the Italian population, which occurred, as we have seen, to a very considerable extent especially after 1880, did not always go hand in hand with the increase in the means of subsistence: especially in some mountain regions, scarce of soil agricultural and poor in industries, an imbalance has therefore arisen, consisting in what a part of the population no longer found in their region the resources or employment necessary to support themselves and was forced to look for them elsewhere. Improved communications cooperated in this drive, eliminating the difficulty of moving from previously closed and segregated places, and also the intensification of relations between the various parts of Italy and between Italy and foreign countries.

The search for employment and earnings outside one’s own region has given rise to the phenomenon of internal migration and to that of actual emigration. Internal migrations are in part notable periodic, being carried out by people who move from their headquarters to be employed only for a few months of the year in agricultural or industrial work, and then return to their residence for the rest of the year. Migrations for agricultural work are more important and occur especially at the end of spring and at the beginning of summer (May July) or in September; the regions that give the greatest contribution to them are Puglia, Emilia, Abruzzo, Veneto, Lombardy. Overall, during the last few years, in which these migrations were carefully monitored, there were about 300-350. 000 individuals (per ¾ males) annually interested in such travel. But there are also permanent internal migrations, that is, transfers of groups of populations from regions poor in resources to others recently conquered to agriculture with reclamation works, etc .: so during the century. XIX the gradual Maremma reclamation gave rise to settlements of people coming from the less productive regions of the Tuscan Apennines, and the same happened in the reclaimed areas of Romagna; more recently settlers came down from the central Apennines and Sub-Apennines to settle in the Agro Romano, and today, with suitably regulated measures, the transplantation of families of farmers from areas where the demographic pressure is stronger in areas redeemed by the reclamation works is favored integral and few of its own arms (such as, for example, Sardinia and today the Pontine plain). A spontaneous tendency to abandon certain mountain regions, in which life is harsh and not very profitable, has manifested itself for some time and for various reasons, especially in several parts of the Piedmontese Alps, and here and there in the Lombardy and Veneto Alps and also in the ” Apennines: the natural drive towards the valleys and plains where the most productive regions and the major communication routes are in part contribute to this, in part the search for work in industrial plants that have recently sprung up or developed, or in any case the desire to find more lucrative occupations, partly the decline of some small industries and activities typical of mountain villages (domestic industries, industries connected with the forest, etc.), partly other multiple causes; this mountain depopulation,

Especially in the past, the phenomenon of actual emigration has had greater importance, also determined by the growing demographic pressure and the drive to seek sources of subsistence and profit outside the borders of the homeland.

The phenomenon began to assume significant importance only in the second half of the century. XIX, and showed the tendency of a rapid increase in the last quarter of the century. But still in 1875-80 the Italians who emigrated every year were not more than one hundred thousand, while in the years immediately preceding the world war, a figure seven or eight times higher was reached.

The emigration currents are also partly of a temporary nature, partly of a permanent nature. Temporary emigration is given by those who leave Italy only for a few months (usually the months in which agricultural work is lessened by us) and preferably goes to the countries of central and western Europe or the Mediterranean basin while permanent emigration is given by those who leave their homeland with the intention of never returning there, at least for a long time, and mainly goes overseas.

Until 1886, emigration to European and Mediterranean countries prevailed: in that year out of about 168,000 emigrants, about 85,000 were headed to these countries, 83,000 overseas (in 1881 the figures were 95,000 and 41,000 respectively). Since that time, transoceanic emigration rises rapidly and usually and considerably exceeds that for the nearest countries: in 1901 the annual emigrants are already more than half a million (533,000, of which 253,000 in European and Mediterranean countries , 280,000 overseas). Subsequently, while emigration to European countries only rarely exceeded the aforementioned figure (maximum in 1913: 313,000), the transoceanic one continued to increase until reaching 560,000 in 1913; in this year, therefore, about 863,000 people emigrated! During the World War, emigration was reduced to a minimum (just over 28. 000 in 1918, and of these just 4000 overseas), indeed numerous repatriations took place (at least 500,000 people throughout the war period). But immediately after the war, there was a new impetus: 253,000 emigrants in 1919, about 615,000 in 1920, of which two thirds overseas. Subsequently, the restrictive measures adopted in some countries, especially in the United States, have weakened the transoceanic emigration currents, so that from 1922 emigration returned to prevail for the European and Mediterranean countries, later the unemployment crisis, which is spreading more and more, intervenes to mitigate migratory currents, which are now governed and controlled by the work of the government; the annual flow decreases considerably (183,000 emigrants in total in 1928, just over 150,000 in 1929);

The greatest contingent for temporary emigration is given by certain border regions, Venice, the highlands, Lombardy, Novara; then from some provinces of Emilia, Tuscany, Marche. In the years preceding the war, France; Germany and Switzerland absorbed the greater part of this emigration with little different rates; now emigration to Germany has almost been canceled (1000-1500 individuals a year and even less, in confmnto 60-80,000 in the last pre-war years) and that directed to Switzerland is very reduced, although since 1922 it tends to slowly increase (7,500 individuals in 1922; 26,000 in 1930 and 1931, compared to 80-90,000 in the pre-war years); the largest flow is directed towards France (over 200,000 in 1924; 167,000 in 1930; approximately 75,000 in 1931).

Before the World War, Sicily, Calabria, Abruzzo (provinces of Chieti and Campobasso), Lucania, Campania gave the greatest contribution to transoceanic emigration; between the regions of central Italy the Marche, between those of the northern Piedmont; today, with considerable contingents, the Veneto and Venezia Giulia are added. Until the end of the last century, the greatest number of emigrants was absorbed from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay); from 1902 the countries of North America (United States and secondarily Canada) came to the fore. For example, in 1895 over 141,000 emigrants made their way to South America, less than 40,000 to the United States and Canada; in 1913 the relative figures were instead 145,000 and 407,000. After the war the flow tended to resume the same directions: in 1920 fewer than 50,000 emigrants went to Brazil and the states of Plata, while more than 350,000 went to the United States and Canada. But in recent years, due to the limitations mentioned above, emigration to the United States has once again diminished, and the greatest contribution of emigrants is again absorbed by Argentina; among other American countries, Canada and Brazil are also important.

On the current conditions of Italians residing in the countries that are the destination of our emigration, see below: the paragraph Italians abroad and the hints under the items of each country.

In conclusion, it can be asserted that in Italy, due to the constant, lively increase of the population, the demographic pressure is manifesting itself, in our days, very intensely. Integral reclamation essentially aims at making the entire national territory available to the growing population, however usable; the discipline of internal migrations, through the permanent transfer of settlers to the newly conquered areas for cultivation, aims at adapting, as far as possible, the density of the rural population to the resources of the soil. But this only provides a modest measure of the need for expansion of the Italian people, who are naturally pushed to overflow outside the borders of their homeland and, finding only limited spaces in the current external possessions.

Italy Population - Internal Migration and External Migration