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'Nearly 30 percent Italians at risk of poverty'

Rome, Dec 17: Almost 30 percent of Italians are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, with southern Italy's residents accounting for almost half, the National Institute for Statistics (Istat) said on Monday.

According to Istat's 'Income and living conditions' report, the figure is 1.7 points higher than 2011 levels, and was 5.1 percentage points higher than the European average, Xinhua reported.

The rise is the result of an increase of people in severely deprived families. Yet, the richest 20 percent of Italians accounted for 37.5 percent of the country's total income.

Struggling to emerge from its longest recession since World War II, Italy is still facing a hovering unemployment rate of over 12 percent. The figure is expected to hit 12.4 percent in 2014.

Among young people aged between 15 and 24, the joblessness has topped 40 percent.

Update: 17-December-2013