Italy 1997Italy

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Italy - Introduction 1997
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Background: Italy failed to secure political unification until the 1860s, thus lacking the military and imperial power of Spain, Britain, and France. The fascist dictatorship of MUSSOLINI after World War I, led to the disastrous alliance with HITLER's Germany and defeat in World War II. Italy was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC) and joined in the growing political and economic unification of Western Europe. On-going problems include illegal immigration, the ravages of organized crime, high unemployment, and the low incomes and technical standards of Southern Italy compared with the North.

Italy - Geography 1997
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Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia

Geographic coordinates: 42 50 N, 12 50 E

Map referenceEurope

Total: 301,230 km²
Land: 294,020 km²
Water: 7,210 km²
Note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
Comparative: slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries
Total: 1,932.2 km
Border countries: (5) Austria 430 km; , France 488 km; , Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km; , San Marino 39 km; , Slovenia 232 km; , Switzerland 740 km

Coastline: 7,600 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands

Extremes lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m

Natural resources: mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, dwindling natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, coal
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 31%
Permanent crops: 10%
Permanent pastures: 15%
Forests and woodland: 23%
Other: 21% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 27,100 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice

Note: strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

Italy - People 1997
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Population: 56,830,508 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: -0.08% (1997 est.)

Noun: Italian(s)
Adjective: Italian

Ethnic groups: Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)

Languages: Italian, German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)

Religions: Roman Catholic 98%, other 2%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 15% (male 4,234,767; female 3,997,589)
15-64 years: 68% (male 19,314,674; female 19,442,196)
65 years and over: 17% (male 4,028,659; female 5,812,623) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: -0.08% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 8.96 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 10.07 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.27 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide; coastal and inland rivers polluted from industrial and agricultural effluents; acid rain damaging lakes; inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 6.5 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 78.25 years
Male: 75.13 years
Female: 81.58 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.16 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 97%
Male: 98%
Female: 96% (1990 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Italy - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Italian Republic
Conventional short form: Italy
Local long form: Repubblica Italiana
Local short form: Italia
Former: Kingdom of Italy

Government type: republic

Capital: Rome

Administrative divisions: 20 regions (regioni, singular - regione; Abruzzi, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte, Puglia, Sardegna, Sicilia, Toscana, Trentino-Alto Adige, Umbria, Valle d'Aosta, Veneto

Dependent areas

Independence: 17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Republic, 2 June (1946)

Constitution: 1 January 1948

Legal system: based on civil law system, with ecclesiastical law influence; appeals treated as trials de novo; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25)

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Oscar Luigi SCALFARO (since 28 May 1992)
Head of government: Prime Minister (referred to in Italy as the president of the Council of Ministers) Romano PRODI (since 18 May 1996)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president
Elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term; election last held 25 May 1992 (next to be held NA 1999); prime minister appointed by the president
Election results: Oscar Luigi SCALFARO elected president; percent of electoral college vote - NA

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of the Senate or Senato della Repubblica (326 seats, 315 popularly elected of which 232 are directly elected and 83 by regional proportional representation, 11 appointed senators-for-life; members serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; 475 are directly elected, 155 by regional proportional representation; members serve five-year terms)
Elections: Senate - last held 21 April 1996 (next to be held by NA April 2001); Chamber of Deputies - last held 21 April 1996 (next to be held by NA April 2001)
Election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Olive Tree 157, Freedom Alliance 116, Northern League 27, Refounded Communists 10, regional lists 3, Social Movement-Tricolor Flames 1, Panella Reformers 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Olive Tree 284, Freedom Alliance 246, Northern League 59, Refounded Communists 35, Southern Tyrol List 3, Autonomous List 2, other 1

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale, composed of 15 judges (one-third appointed by the president, one-third elected by Parliament, one-third elected by the ordinary and administrative supreme courts)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CE (observer), CEI, CERN, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, MTCR, NACC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Ferdinando SALLEO
In the us chancery: 1601 Fuller Street NW, Washington, DC 20,009 and 2,700 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20,009
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 328-5,500
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 483-2,187
In the us consulates general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco
In the us consulates: Detroit and New Orleans
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Reginald BARTHOLOMEW
From the us embassy: Via Veneto 119/A, 00187-Rome
From the us mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 9,624
From the us telephone: [39] (6) 46,741
From the us FAX: [39] (6) 488-2,672
From the us consulates general: Florence, Milan, Naples

Flag descriptionflag of Italy: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and is green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of the Cote d'Ivoire, which has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Italy - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Since World War II, the Italian economy has changed from one based on agriculture into a ranking industrial economy, with approximately the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. This basically capitalistic economy is still divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less developed agricultural south, with large public enterprises. Most raw materials needed by industry and over 75% of energy requirements must be imported. In the second half of 1992, Rome became unsettled by the prospect of not qualifying to participate in EU plans for economic and monetary union later in the decade; thus, it finally began to address its huge fiscal imbalances. Subsequently, the government has adopted fairly stringent budgets, abandoned its inflationary wage indexation system, and started to scale back its generous social welfare programs, including pension and health care benefits. In November 1996 the lire rejoined the European monetary system, which it had left in September 1992 when under extreme pressure in currency markets. Italy in early 1997 faces the problem of restructuring its economy to meet Maastricht criteria for inclusion in the EMU, together with other problems of refurbishing a tottering communications system, curbing industrial pollution, and adjusting to new EU and global competitive forces.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 0.8% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 3.3%
Industry: 33%
Services: 63.7% (1994)

Agriculture products: fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; meat and dairy products; fish catch of 525,000 metric tons in 1990

Industries: tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics

Industrial production growth rate: 0.5% (1996 est.)

Labor force
Total: 22.851 million
By occupation services: 61%
By occupation industry: 32%
By occupation agriculture: 7% (1996)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 12% (1996 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $416 billion
Expenditures: $506 billion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1996 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $250 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
Commodities: metals, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transportation equipment, chemicals
Partners: EU 53.4%, US 7.8%, OPEC 3.8%

Total value: $205 billion (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
Commodities: industrial machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, petroleum, metals, food, agricultural products
Partners: EU 56.3%, OPEC 5.3%, US 4.6%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $45 billion (1996 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Italian lire (Lit) per US$1 - 1,568.1 (January 1997), 1,542.9 (1996), 1,628.9 (1995), 1,612.4 (1994), 1,573.7 (1993), 1,232.4 (1992)

Italy - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 241.6 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 4,238 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Italy - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: modern, well-developed, fast; fully automated telephone, telex, and data services
Domestic: high-capacity cable and microwave radio relay trunks
International: satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (with a total of 5 antennas - 3 for Atlantic Ocean and 2 for Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean Region), and NA Eutelsat; 21 submarine cables

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Italy - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $20.4 billion (1995)
Percent of gdp: 1.9% (1995)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Italy - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 132 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 112
With paved runways over 3047 m: 5
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 34
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 15
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 24
With paved runways under 914 m: 34 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 20
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 18 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 112
Over 3047 m: 5
2438 to 3047 m: 34
15-24 to 2437 m: 15
914 to 1523 m: 24
Under 914 m: 34 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 20
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 18 (1996 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 1,703 km; petroleum products 2,148 km; natural gas 19,400 km

Total: 18,961 km
Standard gauge: 17,981 km 1.435-m gauge; Italian Railways (FS) operates 16,118 km of the total standard gauge routes (10,560 km electrified)
Narrow gauge: 113 km 1.000-m gauge (113 km electrified); 867 km 0.950-m gauge (144 km electrified)


Waterways: 2,400 km for various types of commercial traffic, although of limited overall value

Merchant marine
Total: 396 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,503,637 GRT/7,794,505 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 36, cargo 50, chemical tanker 39, combination ore/oil 2, container 17, liquefied gas tanker 36, multifunction large-load carrier 1, oil tanker 106, passenger 7, roll-on/roll-off cargo 54, short-sea passenger 30, specialized tanker 11, vehicle carrier 7 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Italy - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: Italy is negotiating with Slovenia over property and minority rights issues dating from World War II; Croatia and Italy have not resolved a bilateral issue dating from WWII over property and ethnic minority rights

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: important gateway for and consumer of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market


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