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Press release

Linguistic diversity among foreign citizens in Italy

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Romanian is the most common mother tongue among foreign residents in Italy: almost 800 thousand people speak Romanian from early childhood (21.9% of the foreign citizens aged 6 and over). Other prevalent mother tongues are Arabic (spoken by over 475 thousand people, 13.1%), Albanian (380 thousand people) and Spanish (255 thousand people), that is the mother tongue of people from the Andean states of South America.

Foreign citizens who speak Italian since childhood are 4.5%, equivalent to 160 thousand people aged 6 years and over. 16.8% of Italians mother tongue are Albanians, 12.1% are Moroccans, and 11,1% are Romanians. Among people under 18 years, at least one out of four is an Italian native speaker. 8.1% of foreign citizens (aged 6 years and older) speak Italian from early childhood in addition to another language considered as mother tongue.

Among people 18 years and over, at least 17  foreign citizens out of 100  attended Italian language courses in Italy. Arabic mother tongue foreigners attended Italian language courses more than other foreign citizens (23%).

Italian is the most spoken language at home for 38.5% of the foreigners aged 6 years and over. Among women the percentages reach 45.7%, compared to 29.7% of men. It is very common to speak Italian at home (47.3% versus 36.8% of adults) mainly among children and teen agers (6-17 years).

For more detailed information please refer to the Italian version.

Sociodemografic and environmtal stastistics directorate
Monica Perez
ph. +39 06 4673.7321

Massimo Strozza
ph. +39 06 4673.7592

Reference period: Years 2011-2012

Date of Issue: 25 July 2014



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