The best are moving away! Italian Expats Abroad, Multilingual and Educated – I migliori se ne vanno? Italian Expats, multilingue e istruiti
Expats from Italy move abroad for practical reasons, rarely intending to abandon their home country forever.
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Probably due to current subpar economic conditions in their home country, Italian expats’ main motivation for relocation is often the improved working opportunities other countries can offer. Over half (53%) mention the economy and/or labor market as an important factor for their decision to live in another country and the overall single most important reason for leaving Italy is finding a new job abroad, as listed by 19% of Italian respondents. As such, typical expat types among Italians are the Foreign Assignee (21%) and Career Expat (16%).
Germany (hosting 17%) and Switzerland (10%) are the most favored countries of the Italian expats, likely because of the proximity to the motherland. The short distance to home is indeed an attribute Italians appreciate, with 28% mentioning it as an issue that was on their mind when considering moving abroad.
Expat Statistics 2015
Regardless of where expat life takes them, Italians seem to be fairly talented when it comes to languages. Close to half (46%) state they speak four or more languages including their mother tongue(s). Globally only 30% of the expats are so accomplished. Italians also seem to have a good command of the local language in their respective host country: 58% boast being able to speak their host country’s language fairly or even very well, while only 48% of all survey participants say the same. Improving language skills also serves as a motivation to move abroad: 13% of Italian expats mention it as one reason for their relocation.
As mentioned, Italians often travel abroad driven by better working opportunities. Highly educated – two-thirds have a post-graduate degree such as a Master’s degree or PhD – Italian expats nevertheless tend to be conventional employees and managers (63% vs. the global 47%) rather than, for example, researchers (6%), freelancers (5%), or entrepreneurs (6%).
Overall, the effort of moving abroad is rewarded in the form of higher incomes: 73% say they currently earn more than they would back home and 35% even go so far as to say their income is now a lot higher. In general, Italian expats also have slightly higher incomes than the worldwide average: 59% of the Italians say their annual household income is higher than 50,000 USD, compared to 51% among the entire survey population.
Love across Borders
Italian expats happen to be single more often than the global average would suggest (46% vs. a worldwide 38%). Of those who do have a partner, 16% are in a long-distance relationship with their better half residing in another country.
On the other hand, only two in five Italians in a relationship have a partner who is also Italian. In 28% of the cases the partner is neither from the home country nor the current country of residence.
Attending Expat Activities
Expats from Italy have a tendency to keep company mostly with other expats. Almost half (48%) say their acquaintances consist mainly of fellow internationals; around the globe only 34% say the same. When asked about the origin of their expat friends, 21% say they are mostly from Italy, too. On the other hand, close to one-third (32%) has expat friends from a third country with a different culture and no shared language.
Being work-oriented, Italian expats most commonly meet new people through their jobs: two-thirds of them mention work as a place to socialize, followed by those who find friends through other friends (55%). Italians also frequently attend expat events, with 45% saying these are a good place to make new friends.