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Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.


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Economy - overview
Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with high unemployment. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family owned. Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 17% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy is the third-largest economy in the euro-zone, but exceptionally high public debt burdens and structural impediments to growth have rendered it vulnerable to scrutiny by financial markets. Public debt has increased steadily since 2007, reaching 120% of GDP in 2011, and borrowing costs on sovereign government debt have risen to record levels. During the second half of 2011 the government passed a series of three austerity packages to balance its budget by 2013 and decrease its public debt burden. These measures included a hike in the value-added tax, pension reforms, and cuts to public administration. The government also faces pressure from investors and European partners to address Italy's long-standing structural impediments to growth, such as an inflexible labor market and widespread tax evasion. The international financial crisis worsened conditions in Italy''s labor market, with unemployment rising from 6.2% in 2007 to 8.4% in 2011, but in the longer-term Italy''s low fertility rate and quota-driven immigration policies will increasingly strain its economy. The euro-zone crisis along with Italian austerity measures have reduced exports and domestic demand, slowing Italy''s recovery. Italy''s GDP is still 5% below its 2007 pre-crisis level.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 11
$1.871 trillion (2011 est.)
$1.863 trillion (2010 est.)
$1.83 trillion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$2.199 trillion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 189
0.4% (2011 est.)
1.8% (2010 est.)
-5.5% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 44
$30,900 (2011 est.)
$30,900 (2010 est.)
$30,500 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 2%
Industry 24.7%
Services 73.4% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 26
25.08 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 3.9%
Industry 28.3%
Services 67.8% (2011)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 99
8.4% (2011 est.)
8.4% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 2.3%
Highest 10% 26.8% (2000)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 105
32 (2006)
27.3 (1995)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 91
20.5% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $1.025 trillion
Expenditures $1.112 trillion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 28
46.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 125
-3.9% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 8
120.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
118.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
Italy reports its data on public debt according to guidelines set out in the Maastricht Treaty; general government gross debt is defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year, in the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); the general government sector comprises the central government, state government, local government and social security funds

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 55
2.9% (2011 est.)
1.6% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 123
1.75% (31 December 2011)
1.75% (31 December 2010)
This is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 167
4.55% (31 December 2011 est.)
4.032% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 6
$1.147 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.205 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
See entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 9
$2.269 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$2.065 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 9
$3.469 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.221 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 27
$431.5 billion (31 December 2011)
$318.1 billion (31 December 2010)
$317.3 billion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; beef, dairy products; fish

Tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 147
0.2% (2011 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 12
290.7 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 13
309.9 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports
1.826 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports
4.599 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 45
151,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 16
1.528 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 28
529,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 11
1.8 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 50
476.5 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 45
8.4 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 11
77.8 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 46
139 million cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 5
70.2 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 62
63.57 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 190
-$70.1 billion (2011 est.)
-$72.02 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 9
$523.9 billion (2011 est.)
$448.4 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; food, beverages and tobacco; minerals, and nonferrous metals

Exports - partners
Germany 13.3%, France 11.8%, US 5.9%, Spain 5.4%, Switzerland 5.4%, UK 4.7% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 8
$556.4 billion (2011 est.)
$475.7 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing; food, beverages, and tobacco

Imports - partners
Germany 16.5%, France 8.9%, China 7.7%, Netherlands 5.5%, Spain 4.7% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 16
$173.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$158.9 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 7
$2.684 trillion (30 June 2011 est.)
$2.223 trillion (30 June 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 16
$365.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$332 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad World Ranking: 12
$552.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$487.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.7194 (2011 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)
0.7345 (2007 est.)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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Italy (Rome):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from Italy (Rome)

square Monte Della Spe Emilia-romagna

square Torrente Bogna Piedmont

square Musile Di Piave Italy (general)

square Sant'angelo De' Lombardi Italy (general)

square Togliana Friuli Venezia Giulia

square Pra Neiron Aosta Valley

square Tiana Sardegna

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