Ethnicities in Italy

Let’s talk about Italy for a second. Italy is one of those countries where there are very few minorities. Maybe it is because of the Italian economy, maybe the natives looked at potential immigrants and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse – who knows. Anyway, here is what we know about ethnicities in Italy.


Italians make approximately 92% of the population. Italy has largely been undisturbed by migration, but those that did come were assimilated almost perfectly. You will find Greek-Italians and Albanian-Italians near the heel and the sole of the boot, while the pull strap is occupied by the French-Italians and German-Italians, as well as some Slovene-Italians.

Different regions have different accents and slightly different cultures, which is why Italian comedy sometimes revolves around making fun of people living in a particular Italian city. Most of them practice Catholicism, though there are Protestants and Jews.


Out of the remaining 8% of the population, 1.8% goes to the Romanians. It is the largest minority in Italy, and when they came to this land in two waves, they didn’t assimilate as well as their predecessors. Romanians are Eastern European, but because the Italians often confuse them with Roma, due to the similarities in the name, they bundle all of the stereotypes together. Romanians are seen as thieves, scammers, and lazy vagabonds, though, in recent years, there has been more understanding and acceptance of this group.


1.1% goes to Arabs, with the additional 1.1% to Maghrebi. They came from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, among other countries. Most of them practice Islam. During the influx in the 80s, there have been strong anti-Arab sentiments in Italy, with Arabs getting unlawfully detained, being denied service, and receiving death threats. Another time in history when there were a lot of Arabs coming to Italy was the result of people running away from the Arab Spring.


Albanians have a strong history with Italy, as their relationship was that of cooperation during the Middle Ages. As a result, there are established Albanian communities in Italy that brought their own culture and added their flare to the local festivals and celebrations. It is interesting to point out that, unlike in Albania, where Islam is the main religion, Albanians in Italy practice Catholicism.


Most of Italy belongs to Italians. So much so, that the remaining ethnicities put together do not amount to even 10% of the population. While Italy welcomed some of the immigrants in the past, especially those that it has political and military ties with, as was the case with Albanians, there are still groups like Romanians and Arabs that faced discrimination from the get-go.