The Coronavirus pandemic and inequality in Italy

Margherita Giannoni*, Milena Vanieri*, Iris M Bosa, Adriana Castelli, Michele Castelli, Oriana Ciani, Simone Ghislandi, Giorgia Marini, Sabina Nuti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Italy was the first European country to be hard hit by the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic. The country has a long history of disparities in wealth, health and socio-economic development between the Northern and the Central/Southern regions. The COVID-19 outbreak was higher in the richest areas of Italy, but the whole country suffered from increasing socio-economic and health inequalities. Existing health inequalities were exascerbated: mortality rates were higher for men than for women, widening the gender-based life expectancy gap. They were also higher among the elderly, particularly those living in care homes. However, the incidence of mental health conditions, and the demand for mental health care, is increasing, particularly among the younger generations.

We find that the pandemic had a negative impact on access to healthcare, especially for some types of services. Regions with a higher per capita income and lower income inequality experienced lower reductions in access to specialized services. We find evidence of worsening inequalities in health and access to healthcare for some fragile population groups, the elderly and the migrants.

We conclude that the pandemic highlighted the urgent need to address both pre-existing and newly emerging forms of socioeconomic inequaliy. The next generation European Union funds and the linked national recovery and resilience public investment are targeted to foster economic growth and overcome the structural, geographic, socio-economic and health divide in Italy. The success of this will depend on the effectiveness of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, on the capacity to improve public investment governance, and on the post-pandemic growth the country will experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Coronavirus Pandemic and Inequality
Subtitle of host publicationA Global Perspective
EditorsShirley Johnson-Lans
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages45
ISBN (Electronic)9783031222191
ISBN (Print)9783031222184
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameGlobal Perspectives on Wealth and Distribution
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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