Children's Lives in Southern Europe
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Children's Lives in Southern Europe

Contemporary Challenges and Risks

Edited by Lourdes Gaitán, Yannis Pechtelidis, Catarina Tomás and Natália Fernandes

This interdisciplinary book provides a sociological view of the contemporary experiences of children in Southern Europe. Focusing on regions deeply affected by the 2008 economic crisis, it offers a detailed investigation into the impact of economic downturn and austerity on the lives of children.
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Chapter 9: Poorest of all: a case study of Roma children in Italy

Maria Teresa Tagliaventi


The chapter focuses on child poverty in Italy, taking into account the main official statistics. Poverty is associated with some clearly defined socio-demographic characteristics and it is distributed very unevenly across the north, centre and south of the country. Southern Italy has a much higher incidence of poverty, due to the disparities in the economic and production systems and to the difference in the local welfare and regional policies supporting families. Economic poverty brings a chain of individual disadvantages that have lifelong effects and creates a risk of regenerating social inequalities: poor children are more likely to become adults with few opportunities, in turn generating families in conditions of poverty. Finally, the chapter stresses how Roma children and adolescents living in ‘nomad camps’ in Italy are a social group in extreme poverty. Nomad camps are places of segregation and produce the radicalization of marginalization and social distress. Education and training are the areas where Roma children’s social exclusion is evident.

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