Economic and financial crises, social unrest, wars. and natural disasters are risks which, when they actually materialize, threaten the households of an entire community or nation. The consequences can entail a temporary or permanent decrease in income and, more generally, a worsening of living conditions. What risks have jeopardized the serenity of Italian families? What instruments could have been used in order to safeguard the wellbeing of those exposed to the risk of becoming poor over the 150 years of postunification Italy? Have these instruments been effective? This chapter provides answers to these questions. During the last few decades, Italy appears to be a country in which a relatively modest segment of the population can be classified as “poor,” while an unexpectedly broad segment turns out to be at future poverty risk. In short, even if not, poor Italy is fragile.
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