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Measuring Vulnerability of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Italy

  • Authors: Annalisa Busetta, Daria Mendola, Ben Wilson, Valeria Cetorelli
  • Publication year: 2021
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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In recent years, a growing number of forced migrants have travelled to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea. While the number of new arrivals has diminished since 2017, the Italian reception system still struggles to process the high number of applications for international protection. A significant proportion of forced migrants who arrive in Italy end up living in informal settlements, such as occupied buildings, shacks, containers and tented camps. In this study, we assess the vulnerability of asylum seekers and refugees living in informal settlements in Italy, using data from the first nationally representative survey of this population. We compare a count measure of vulnerability with a new approach based on latent trait analysis, which accounts for measurement error and correlation between indicators. This analysis shows that forced migrants from Asia are more vulnerable than those from Africa, and that vulnerability is consistently lower in informal settlements in the regions of Lazio and Piedmont, and consistently higher in Apulia. However, other factors predicting vulnerability often change depending upon the way in which vulnerability is measured. Our findings have implications for the design of social protection and inclusion policies, as well as future research that measures vulnerability.