In its annual report, 2017 data, ISTAT reports 5.6 million people in absolute poverty: a figure that amounts to 8.4% of the national population, and an increase over the previous year (+ 0.5%). Another significant figure is the incidence of absolute poverty among minors, equal to 12.1% of the total: this means 1.2 million minors who are poor.
The so-called "relative poverty" is also growing, that is the condition of poverty in relation to the surrounding society, and now involves about 9.4 million people, up from 14% to 15.6% in one year.
The data also reveal other troubling aspects:
- poverty especially affects younger families, as compared to those where the reference adult is over 65 and may even count on the protection of a stable pension;
- having children in Italy involves easily embarking upon a path towards approaching poverty, and that in the presence of "large" families - with three or more children - poverty is a concrete reality for a family in five;
- the gap between Italy's Center-North compared to the South of the country continues to exist over the years, to the detriment of the latter;
- and that poverty more and more frequently affects those already in conditions of fragility: the unemployed, families of immigrants only, people with low educational qualifications.
Against this backdrop, in the country where Don Bosco was born, the Salesians renew their commitment and efforts to support the needy. To cite a few encouraging facts, to counter the previous ones, there is, for one, the "Salesians for Social - SCS / CNOS Federation", the Statutory Salesian agency that works in the field of social unease and educative poverty in Italy, which operates and animates right across the nation:
- 33 family homes;
- 10 group apartment for neo-adults in need of accompaniment;
- 7 communities to combat addiction;
- 6 centers to accommodate mothers in difficulty;
- 4 social housing facilities to accommodate the most needy;
- 3 canteens to feed the needy;
- 18 residences and 3 information offices for migrants;
- and 27 offices for work placement.
Because poverty must not – and cannot - be a condition without a way out, without escape; hence, Salesian actions.