Demographic Profile of Syrians in Italy

  • Salvatore StrozzaEmail author
  • Giuseppe Gabrielli
Part of the European Studies of Population book series (ESPO, volume 20)


The number of sea arrivals in Italy was more than 740,000 in the period 2011–2017. Syrians were, among them, only around 65 thousand. They arrived mostly between 2014 and 2016, when they preferred this “alternative” route compared to the most widely used Balkan and Eastern ones. This chapter provides a descriptive picture on the trends and demographic characteristics of Syrian immigration and presence, showing how for most of them Italy was only a “transit country” towards other European destinations: despite thousands of sea arrivals, the number of Syrian asylum seekers and residents remained very low. The increase in 2016–2017 is mostly due to arrivals through international resettlement programs and Italian humanitarian corridors. Adult men represent the majority. However, after 2014 the increase of immigrant minors and of immigrant women is evident. In 2018, half of the Syrians reside in 31 Italian municipalities, mostly in North-West and Centre.


Italy Refugees Asylum seekers Syria Conflict Resettlement Humanitarian corridors Demographic characteristics Geographical distribution 


  1. Achilli, L. (2016). In rotta verso l’Europa: note di campo sugli spostamenti dei richiedenti asilo siriani verso l’Unione Europea [En route to Europe: Field notes on the movements of Syrian asylum seekers to the European Union]. In C. Bonifazi & M. Livi Bacci (Eds.), Profughi [Refugees] (pp. 30–47). Florence: Associazione Neodemos.Google Scholar
  2. Ambrosini, M. (2013). Immigration in Italy: Between economic acceptance and political rejection. Journal of International Migration & Integration, 14(1), 175–194.Google Scholar
  3. Angeloni, S., & Spano, F. M. (2018). Asylum seekers in Europe: Issues and solutions. International Migration & Integration, 19, 473–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ANCI, Caritas Italiana, Cittalia, Fondazione Migrantes and Servizio Centrale dello Sprar. (2017). Rapporto sulla protezione internazionale in Italia 2017 [Report on international protection in Italy 2017], from
  5. Birindelli, A. M. (1989). Le migrazioni con l’estero. Chiusura di un ciclo e avvio di una nuova fase [Migrations with foreign countries. Closing a cycle and starting a new phase]. In E. Sonnino (Ed.), Demografia e società in Italia [Demography and society in Italy]. Rome: Editori Riuniti.Google Scholar
  6. Bonifazi, C. (2013). L’Italia delle migrazioni [Italy of migrations]. Bologna: il Mulino.Google Scholar
  7. Bonifazi, C., & Livi Bacci, M. (Eds.). (2016). Profughi [Refugees]. Florence: Associazione Neodemos.Google Scholar
  8. Bonifazi, C., Heins, F., Strozza, S., & Vitiello, M. (2009). The Italian transition from emigration to immigration country. IDEA Working Paper n. 5, March,
  9. Campesi, G. (2018). Between containment, confinement and dispersal: The evolution of the Italian reception system before and after the ‘refugee crisis’. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 23(4), 490–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Campomori, F., & Ambrosini, M. (2018). Between policies of exclusion and innovative actions: The complex and heterogeneous scenario of refugee reception in Italy. Paper presented at 15th annual conference of IMISCOE, Barcelona, 2–4 July.Google Scholar
  11. Cesareo, V., & Blangiardo, G. C. (Eds.). (2009). Indici di integrazione. Un’indagine empirica sulla realtà migratoria italiana [Integration indices. An empirical survey on Italian migratory reality]. Milan: FrancoAngeli.Google Scholar
  12. Colombo, A. (2012). Fuori controllo? Miti e realtà dell’immigrazione in Italia [Out of control? Myths and reality of immigration in Italy]. Bologna: il Mulino.Google Scholar
  13. Denaro, C. (2016a). The reconfiguration of Mediterranean migration routes after the war in Syria: Narratives of Egyptian route to Italy and beyond. In N. Ribas-Mateos (Ed.), Spaces of Refugee flight: Migration and mobilities after the Arab Spring in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Denaro, C. (2016b). Agency, resistance and (forced) mobilities. The case of Syrian refugees in transit through Italy. Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana, 24(47), 77–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fargues, P. (2009). Work, Refuge, transit: An emerging pattern of irregular immigration south and east of the Mediterranean. International Migration Review, 43(3), 544–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fiore, T., & Ialongo, E. (2018). Introduction: Italy and the Euro–Mediterranean ‘migrant crisis’: National reception, lived experiences, E.U. pressures. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 23(4), 481–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fondazione Migrantes. (2013). Rapporto Italiani nel Mondo 2013 [Report on Italians in the World 2013]. Todi (PG): Tau editrice.Google Scholar
  18. Golini, A. (1997). Le migrazioni nella storia dell’Europa [Migrations in the history of Europe]. In Various Authors (Eds.), L’Europa dei popoli [The Europe of peoples]. Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Editalia.Google Scholar
  19. Golini, A., & Amato, F. (2001). Uno sguardo ad un secolo e mezzo di emigrazione italiana [A look at a century and a half of Italian emigration]. In P. Bevilacqua, A. De Clementi, & E. Franzina (Eds.), Storia dell’emigrazione italiana [History of Italian emigration]. Rome: Donzelli Editore.Google Scholar
  20. Giovannetti, M. (Ed.). (2013). L’infinita emergenza [The endless emergency]. Roma: Cittalia/ANCI.Google Scholar
  21. Hatton, T. J. (2012, November). Refugee and asylum migration to the OECD: A short overview. IZA DP No. 7004.Google Scholar
  22. Impicciatore, R., & Strozza, S. (2015). Migrazioni internazionali e interne di italiani e stranieri [International and internal migration of Italians and foreigners]. In A. De Rose & S. Strozza (Eds.), Rapporto sulla popolazione. L’Italia nella crisi economica [Population Report. Italy in the economic crisis]. Bologna: il Mulino.Google Scholar
  23. Istat. (1998). La presenza straniera in Italia negli anni ‘90 [The foreign presence in Italy in the 90s]. Informazioni n. 61, Rome.Google Scholar
  24. Livi Bacci, M. (2016). La questione dei profughi e l’Europa. Neodemos, April 15th. In C. Bonifazi & M. Livi Bacci (Eds.), Profughi [Refugees]. Florence: Associazione Neodemos.Google Scholar
  25. Ministry of Interior. (2015). Report on the reception of migrants and refugees in Italy. Aspects, procedures, problems. Study Group on the reception system, Rome, October, from
  26. Ozgur Baklacioglu, N. (2018). Gendering migration across Euro-Mediterranean borders: Syrian refugee women on the way to Europe. Paper presented at 15th annual conference of IMISCOE, Barcelona, 2–4 July.Google Scholar
  27. Pugliese, E. (2000). L’Italia tra migrazioni internazionali e migrazioni interne [Italy between international and internal migrations]. In Various Authors (Eds.), Migrazioni. Scenari per il XXI secolo [Migrations. Scenarios for the 21st century], Dossier di ricerca (Vol. II). Rome: Agenzia romana per la preparazione del Giubileo.Google Scholar
  28. Pugliese, E. (2018). Quelli che se ne vanno. La nuova emigrazione italiana [Those who leave. The new Italian emigration]. Bologna: il Mulino.Google Scholar
  29. Rigo, E. (2018). Migration, knowledge production and the humanitarian agenda in times of crisis. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 23(4), 507–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schmoll, C., Thiollet, H., & Wihtol de Wenden, C. (Eds.). (2015). Migrations en Méditerranée [Migrations in the Mediterranean]. Parigi: CNRS Editions.Google Scholar
  31. Sobotka, T. (2009). Migration continent Europe. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 7, 217–233.Google Scholar
  32. Strozza, S. (2010). International migration in Europe in the first decade of the 21st century. Rivista Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, LXIV(3), 7–43.Google Scholar
  33. Strozza, S. (2015). A re-examination of net migration in European countries in the period 2002–2011: Estimates by gender, age and region of birth. Rivista Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, LXIX(2), 177–188.Google Scholar
  34. Strozza, S., & De Santis, G. (Eds.). (2017). Rapporto sulla popolazione. Le molte facce della presenza straniera in Italia [Population report. The many faces of the foreign presence in Italy]. Bologna: il Mulino.Google Scholar
  35. Tessitore, F., & Margherita, G. (2017). A review of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Italy: Where is the psychological research going? Mediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 5(2), 1–32.Google Scholar
  36. UNHCR. (2017). Refugees & migrants sea arrivals in Europe, from
  37. UNHCR. (2018a). Refugee and migrants arrivals to Europe in 2017, from
  38. UNHCR. (2018b). Europe Monthly Report 2017, from
  39. Verme, P., Gigliarano, C., Wieser, C., Hedlund, K., Pezoldt, M., & Santacroce, M. (2016). The welfare of Syrian Refugees. Evidence from Jordan and Lebanon. Washington, DC: World Bank and UNHCR.Google Scholar
  40. Wihtol de Wenden, C. (2015). Il diritto di migrare [The right to migrate]. Roma: Ediesse.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations