On 21 October Giuseppe Pisanu, Italian minister for the interior announced that there were 2,200.000 legally registered immigrants, from outside the European Union, living in Italy.
On 27 October the Rome branch of Caritas, the Roman Catholic relief organisation, issued its annual immigration report which shows a total of 2,600.000 legally registered immigrants in Italy, 938,512 more than in 2003.
Franco Pittau, who is responsible for preparing the Caritas figures, explained that the 400,000 difference in the two totals is because the ministry excludes immigrant children under the age of 14, who are registered on their parents' permits, and those born in Italy of immigrant parents.
This year the largest group of immigrants comes from Rumania (239,781) followed by Morocco (227,055), then Albania (224,001), the Ukraine (120,965) and China (100,000).
According to the report about 48 per cent of immigrants come from the European continent, 23.5 per cent from Africa, 17 per cent from Asia and 11.5 per cent from the American continent.
The religious composition of the immigrant population has also changed, with the number of Christians rising from 44.6 per cent of the total two years ago to 50.3 per cent this year, most of these are Orthodox Christians. The number of Muslims has dropped from 38 per cent of the total two years ago to 32.4 per cent this year.