Italians are famed for having a supposedly relaxed and healthy lifestyle. And new figures released by national statistics bureau Istat on Thursday show that Italians' wellbeing is actually on the increase.
“Over the last year the indicators report an improvement in wellbeing,” the national statistics agency said in its latest annual BES report.
The report aims to look beyond the usual GDP-based economic picture of how Italy is progressing, by considering economic, social and environmental phenomena.
“Over 50 percent of the 110 comparable indicators have registered an improvement,” ISTAT said.
Fruit for sale at a market in Rome. Photo: AFP
Two in five Italians reported “high levels of satisfaction” with their lives, and overall subjective perceptions of wellbeing had increased by 1.8 percent overall since last year, Istat found.
Italians are also feeling more positive, the study found, with the number of people describing themselves as “optimistic” increasing by 1.8 percent and the number of self.confessed pessimists dropping by two percent.
Istat said the biggest increases in wellbeing were registered in parts of northern Italy, while the lowest scores were found in the centre-south.
In the south, reported levels of satisfaction with life were on average around 12 percent lower compared to the North.
The study noted that the wellbeing index was pushed down by economic factors in many areas, particularly by unemployment, job insecurity, and issues with work-life balance.