The GDP of the Mezzogiorno takes center stage according to the Svimez Report 2023, projecting a growth of 0.4% this year. However, this figure contrasts with an expected +0.8% for the Centre-North, highlighting a gap that has reopened after two years of economic alignment among Italian regions, attributed mainly to divergent consumption patterns.
Svimez Report 2023: Growing Gap Between North and South
The contraction of available income for Southern families, at -2%, is twice that of the Centre-North, contributing to the growth disparity. According to Svimez, the GDP in 2024 is expected to grow by 0.7% nationally, distributed between +0.7% in the Centre-North and +0.6% in the South. In 2025, growth is projected to reach 1.2% nationally, with a differential between Centre-North (+1.3%) and South (+0.9%).
Svimez Report 2023: Social and Economic Challenges Persist Despite Increased Employment
The Svimez Report indicates that the increased employment, more significant in the South than the rest of the country, fails to alleviate social distress. Key challenges include inadequate salaries, precarious work, and youth emigration. Absolute poverty among families with an employed reference person increased by 1.7% between 2020 and 2022, affecting nearly one in 10 families in the Mezzogiorno.
Svimez Report 2023, Depopulation: Alarming Demographic Trends
The Mezzogiorno faces worrying demographic trends. Decreased birth rates and increased life expectancy contribute to the region’s depopulation. Internal and international migrations accentuate demographic imbalances between the South and the North. Between 2002 and 2021, over 2.5 million people left the Mezzogiorno, with 81% choosing the Centre-North. Projections indicate that by 2080, approximately 8 million Southerners will have left their homeland, making the Mezzogiorno the oldest area in the country.
Crucial Female Employment to Counter Demographic Decline
The enhancement of female employment in the Mezzogiorno emerges as a crucial strategy to counter demographic decline. The report emphasizes the need to “reactivate the virtuous circle between birth rates, welfare, women, and work.” Southern regions have significantly lower rates of female employment compared to the European average, with a lack of work-life balance services disproportionately affecting women in the workforce.
Pnrr Investments Fundamental for Economic Recovery
Svimez argues that Italy’s growth, particularly in the Mezzogiorno, is closely tied to the timely implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) in the biennium 2024-2025. The planned Pnrr investments, if fully utilized, could have a significant impact on the national GDP, avoiding recession in the South in both forecast years.
Delays and Disparities in Investments for Early Childhood and Education
The South faces serious delays in offering services for early childhood, highlighted by data on authorized nursery places. Svimez emphasizes that Pnrr investments aim to bridge these disparities but criticizes the lack of a territorial mapping of investment needs, potentially affecting the equitable distribution of resources.
Low Percentage of Graduates: A Hurdle for Development
Italy has one of the lowest percentages of graduate populations in Europe, with only 29% of young people aged 25 to 34 obtaining tertiary education in 2022. In the Mezzogiorno, this percentage drops to 22%, representing a significant obstacle to the region’s economic development.
In conclusion, the Svimez Report 2023 provides a detailed picture of the challenges and opportunities facing the Mezzogiorno. While demographic and economic trends are concerning, Pnrr investments and the enhancement of female employment emerge as key strategies to reverse the trend and promote sustainable and inclusive growth.