Italian poverty and the ‘Pogba scale’

9 Aug


Migrant children play on a sports field on the premises of the Sant'Antonio Parish in Ventimiglia, Italy, 08 July 2016Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Almost a third of “foreign” families live in absolute poverty in Italy – tens of thousand of migrants arrived last year

After weeks of speculation, French footballer Paul Pogba has completed a world record transfer to Manchester United from Italian club Juventus.

The initial fee for the 23-year-old is €105m (£89m; $116m), but the figure will rise depending on his success.

The figure stands in stark contrast to other newly-released statistics in Italy.

According to the statistical body Instat, the number of people living in absolutely poverty in Italy has risen to its highest point since 2005, with 7.6% of the population affected.

The figures, released last month, showed that 4.6 million people were now unable to afford goods and services “essential to avoid grave forms of social exclusion”.

Italian media said some of the change could be attributed to migrant families, almost a third of whom live in absolute poverty. More than 153,000 migrants arrived in Italy last year.

Back in 1992, when AC Milan broke the world transfer record to sign Gianluigi Lentini, the Vatican condemned the £13m fee, calling it “an offence to the dignity of work”.

There’s been no comment from the Vatican this time around.

So how poor is poor?

We broke down Italy’s poverty levels relative to the cost of Pogba.

  • If you were single, aged between 18 and 59 and living in a village in Sardinia, you would count as poor on an income of €552.39 a month, meaning you would have to work for 190,083 years to afford Pogba

Image copyright
AFP/Getty Images

Image caption

A single person in southern Italy would earn 0.0005% of Pogba’s transfer fee in a month – maybe enough to afford part of his fingernail

  • If you were older than 75, single, and lived in a medium-sized town in northern Italy, you would count as poor on €708.18 a month – and have to work for 148,267 years to afford Pogba
  • If you were a family of two adults and two children aged between four and 10, and lived in Rome, you would count as poor if you had a joint monthly income of €1,471.45 – meaning you would have to work for 71,358 years to buy a French footballer in his prime

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

A family of four in Rome earns 0.0014% of Pogba’s transfer fee a month, which may be enough to own that crease in his forehead

  • If you were an elderly couple living in a village in southern Italy, you would be considered poor on an income of €686.46 a month – you would both have to work for 152,959 years to buy yourself a Pogba

Pogba’s salary at Old Trafford has not been publicised, but it is believed to be about €12m a year.

When the poverty figures were released last month, Massimiliano Dona, secretary of the National Consumers’ Union, called them “a national disgrace” which showed the government had “not done anything to reduce inequalities and help those most in need”, La Repubblica reported.

Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan told the Ansa news agency the government was committed to bringing more people out of poverty, but it faced the worst financial situation in 20 years.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was appointed in 2014 after a promise to bring life back into the economy, but little improvement has been seen.

He is also facing pressure over a referendum he has called for later this year to cut the powers of the Italian Senate as part of a series of planned constitutional reforms.

Mr Renzi has promised to resign if he loses the vote.

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