The recent analysis conducted by the Bank of Italy, within the framework of statistics elaborated by the European Central Bank (ECB), has unveiled a scenario of wealth in Italy where the top 5% of families own no less than 46% of net wealth. However, Italy falls below the European average for wealth concentration, positioning itself alongside France and behind Germany, currently the country with the highest degree of inequality in terms of net wealth.
Wealth in Italy: analysis of inequality in Italy
The Bank of Italy’s analysis highlights that the gap compared to the entire European area is mainly due to the higher share of net wealth held in Italy by families below the median, primarily linked to homeownership. This phenomenon, as explained by the study, contributes to a seemingly less pronounced inequality compared to other European countries.
The Decisive Role of Real Estate
The report emphasizes the crucial importance of homeownership in the Italian economic context, representing half of Italians’ wealth. This percentage varies significantly based on family wealth: homes constitute three-quarters of wealth for families below the median, just below 70% for those in the middle class, and slightly over a third for the wealthiest.
Wealth in Italy: differences among wealth classes
According to the study, poorer families mainly own deposits as a significant component of financial wealth, amounting to 17%. In contrast, wealthier families diversify their portfolio, with almost a third of wealth represented by risk capital linked to production (such as stocks, holdings, and real activities for production) and a fifth from mutual funds and insurance policies.
Wealth in Italy: division of housing assets and deposits
From 2010 to 2022, the share of housing assets held by middle-class families decreased from 50% to 45%, benefiting primarily the top 10%. During the same period, deposits increased by 40%, with families belonging to the top 10% experiencing a 6% growth, reaching half of the total.
The 5% of Families and the Inequality Index
Thus, it is evident that the wealthiest 5% of Italian families own about 46% of the total net wealth, and the main inequality indices have remained relatively stable between 2017 and 2022 after increasing between 2010 and 2016. Despite this seemingly imbalanced distribution, Italy manages to maintain a relatively stable inequality index.
Future Perspectives and Political Implications
Looking ahead, the issue of inequality remains at the forefront of political and economic discussions. While homeownership continues to play a crucial role in shaping the wealth of Italian families, public policies could focus on promoting broader and more accessible investment opportunities for all social classes.
In conclusion, the Bank of Italy’s analysis offers an in-depth look into the distribution of wealth in Italy, highlighting how homeownership is the linchpin of the economic situation for families. Despite disparities in wealth ownership, the Italian situation appears to differentiate positively from other European countries, providing interesting insights for public debate and future economic policies.