Italy at the Grim Edge of a Global Problem

As a new report by the Bruno Visentini Foundation shows, the average 20-year-old will have 18 years to wait before living independently — meaning, among other things, having a home, a steady income, and the ability to support a family. That’s almost twice as long as it took Italians who turned 20 in 2004. Eurostat statistics in October 2016 showed that less than a third of under-35s in Italy had left their parental home, a figure 20 percentage points lower than the European average. The trend is expected to worsen as the economy continues to struggle. Researchers said that for Italians who turn 20 in 2030, it will take an average of 28 years to be able to live independently. In other words, many of Italy’s children today won’t have “grown up” until they’re nearing their 50s. That raises an obvious question: if Italy’s future generation of workers are expected to struggle to support themselves and their children until they’re well into their forties, how will they possibly be able to support the burgeoning ranks of baby boomers reaching retirement age (66 years and seven months for men and 65 years and one month for women), let alone service the over €2 trillion of public debt the Italian government has accumulated (and which doesn’t include the untold billions it hopes to splash out on saving the banks)?