Migration from the south of Italy to the north of the country is nearing levels last seen during the peak migratory period of the1960s, according to a report by the association for industrial development in southern Italy, SVIMEZ. The report states that 270,000 southerners moved to the north in 2004 (the most recent data available), coming close to the 295,000 people who did the same annually between 1961 and 1963.

Migrants move north because of the poor employment prospects in the impoverished south of the country, but SVIMEZ claims the exodus of young, educated southerners is now contributing to the problem. The average profile of a migrant from the south is between 25 and 29 years old, while 36 per cent have high school diplomas and 13 per cent are university educated.

The largest number of migrants come from Campania (38,000) followed by Sicily (28,600) and Puglia (21,500). Lombardy, Lazio and Emilia-Romanga are the main regions where southern job-seekers settle.

The number of people moving from the north of the country to work in the south each year is around 60,000.