Skip to main content
Passa alla visualizzazione normale.


Health and living conditions of refugees and asylum-seekers: A survey of informal settlements in Italy


Newspapers and humanitarian organisations have long shown that many asylumseekers and other beneficiaries of international protection are forced to live for months or even years in precarious settlements that have sprung up spontaneously throughout Italy. However, there are no official statistics on how many asylum-seekers and refugees in Italy live this way. Our survey, carried out in 2015, is the first national survey of foreign nationals living in these makeshift camps. It aims to build a complete list of informal settlements in Italy and provide an estimate of the population size, characteristics, and living conditions of these settlements, with a focus on health conditions. The conditions of settlements are often very poor with deficiencies in basic supplies (water, electricity, and/or shelter). The survey reveals that, despite their generally young age, more than 50 per cent of the foreign nationals living in informal settlements have had health problems recently. Binomial logit analysis, using two different health outcomes, reveals that health conditions are associated with both personal and settlement characteristics. The poor living conditions of these foreign nationals, their unsatisfied medical needs, and the precariousness of their housing all demonstrate how the Italian reception system is creaking under the growing volume of migrants.