In 2000 the richest one per cent of Italians owned 17.2 per cent of the countrys national wealth compared with just 10.6 per cent in 1989, according to a Bankitalia study published in Italian daily La Repubblica. The next richest nine per cent of Italians also increased their share of wealth from 29.6 to 31.3 per cent, underlining the fact that the richest 10 per cent of Italians owns just under half (48.5 per cent) of total national wealth. The data showed that the remaining 90 per cent all lost ground on their richer neighbours. The bottom 40 per cent of the population possesses just seven per cent of national wealth compared with 8.3 per cent 15 years ago. The report goes on to show that for every 100 of income declared to the authorities, a further 46 is circulating in the countrys shadow economy, much of it in the form of services carried out in kind. This helps to explain why the average accumulated wealth of Italians (based on ownership of property and consumption of goods) is worth nine times their annual income compared to the European norm of three to one.
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