African emigrants to Italy

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African emigrants to Italy
Total population
1,096,089 (2018)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Rome, Milan, Turin, Palermo, Bologna, Brescia, Bergamo, Florence
Italian, Afro-Asiatic languages, Niger–Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages
Predominantly Roman Catholicism, also Orthodox, Other Christians · Sunni Islam

African emigrants to Italy include Italian citizens and residents originally from Africa. Immigrants from Africa officially residing in Italy in 2015 numbered about 1,000,000 residents.[1]

In 2017, there has been a 40 percent increase in the overall number of migrants arriving in Italy[2] and in 2014 over 170,000 migrants arrived which represented the biggest influx of people into one country in European Union History.[3] A large percentage of them arrive via Africa.

The African migrants specifically use the coast of the country Libya to travel across the Mediterranean Sea in large numbers hoping to land on Italian shores.[3] Although departing from Libya, most are from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Eritrea, and Syria (which is geographically located in Asia).[3] The route is dangerous and often unsuccessful; in 2015, 2,000 people died crossing the Mediterranean and the Libyan coast guard intercepted many of the boats which were transporting the illegal immigrants from Africa and into Italy.[3] As this route begins to gain more and more publicity and attention, smugglers are using alternate routes such as Egypt, the Balkan route from Greece, and a very risky route from mountain passes in Albania.[4]

In 2017, proposals were made for the European Union to open asylum centres in Libya to protect vulnerable refugees[2] and to allow them access to healthcare.[2] One major problem with the refugees' path to freedom are the detention centers within Libya, which the European Union claims violates human rights.[2] A second major problem is that the entire refugee process has fuelled the creation of an illegal human smuggling market, which earns a profit by granting asylum seekers from Africa access to Europe in very dangerous conditions.[2]

There are numerous non- governmental organizations which aim to save stranded refugees by monitoring certain areas of the Mediterranean.[2] However, that fails to allow for legitimate government organizations to record realistic migrant numbers.[2] The influx of migration leads locals to fear their safety, finances, and quality of life.[4]

In 2016, Italy’s finance minister pushed for financial compensation from the European Union for his country’s financial losses because of mass migration.[4] As of 2016, the European Union had put forth only 1.8 billion euros for the entirety of Africa's refugee efforts in Europe.

Countries of origin[edit]

North and North East Africans[edit]

The largest group of immigrants from Africa are from North Africa, numbering 666.585 official residents in 2016.[1] By country of origin, most of these recent arrivals are from Morocco (437.485), Tunisia (95.645), Egypt (109.871) and Algeria (21.765). Italy also has a number of immigrants from Libya (1.819), Somalia (7.903), Eritrea (9.597) and Ethiopia (8.000), territories where Italian expatriates had a presence during the colonial period.

West and Central Africans[edit]

A group of black African men sitting or squatting on a low bench next to a glass wall in a large city square. In the rear can be seen a street with a tall rectilinear skyscraper
African immigrants in Milan

Compared to North and Northeast Africans, the percentage of West and Central Africans as a proportion of immigrants to Italy from Africa is 33.2% (344.568 official residents in 2015).[1] Most come from Senegal (98.176), Nigeria (77.264) and Ghana (48.637).

Notable individuals in Italy[edit]

The following is a list of notable African nationals who have immigrated to and now at least partially reside in Italy.



Media and literature[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Dati ISTAT 2016. "Cittadini stranieri in Italia - 2016".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hargreaves, Fionn (February 28, 2017). "TWENTY MILLION African migrants heading for Europe". Mail Online.
  3. ^ a b c d "African migrants: What really drives them to Europe?".
  4. ^ a b c Adler, Katya (April 19, 2016). "Mass migration threatens national crisis in Italy" – via