The quality of life in 2021: index by age group

Three new Sole 24 Ore indices reward the provinces with the best life context by age group

June 28, 2021

of Michela Finizio
Cagliari stands out for being a child-friendly province. Ravenna an attractive place for young people. Trento stands out for the well-being of the elderly. Three very different provinces “win” the Quality of Life challenge for the three generational targets, based on the statistical indicators selected by Il Sole 24 Ore.

Well-being based on age

If to talk about well-being in general it will be necessary to wait for the traditional end-of-year ranking, in the meantime the three new “generational” rankings (each made up of 12 parameters) measure the livability of the area for children, young people and the elderly with numbers. The indicators have been selected to highlight particular aspects that influence the quality of their life. Each parameter was then assigned a score for each province from 0-1000. And the final ranking is the result of the average of the scores achieved.

The three new indexes thus document the ability of institutions to deploy efficient services, the relative living conditions, the gaps towards the most vulnerable and the expectations of the youngest. A story emerges that highlights how, from north to south, the territorial gaps are unfortunately also generational.

The three generational indices

Based on the average score achieved in the 12 indicators selected for children, young people and the elderly

The three leading provinces

While the general delay of the South is confirmed, which in the three rankings almost always populates the bottom of the rankings (only the Sardinian provinces seem to stand out for children), it is by comparing the individual primates that the most interesting curiosities are discovered.

Just give some examples of the three leading provinces. Cagliari, for example, excels in the number of active pediatricians and offers one of the best ratios between nursery fees and declared average income, offering a place for 27% of children aged 0 to 3. But it falls to 71st place (out of the total of 107 provinces) for the quality of life of young people and 25th for the elderly. In the province, however (as you can see on page 5), the number of residents under 10 has decreased by 14% in the last five years, while the elderly population has grown (+ 11%).

Ravenna and Trento, on the other hand, seem to unite different generations: both, in addition to being the most attractive for young and old, also rank in the top ten of the other two categories. And in the last five years, in these two provinces, the young population, between 18 and 35 years old, has been growing, albeit slightly.

Bad metropolitan areas

Furthermore, the almost total absence of large metropolitan areas weighs in the three top ten, with the exception of Bologna (already awarded for the Quality of Life 2020) which earns the eighth place for the well-being of young people and the fifth for the elderly. Milan and Rome appear only in the top ten dedicated to over 65s, driven by the average pension amounts. For children, on the other hand, they place 42a and 18a respectively, penalized by the reduced living space (in Milan 50 square meters on average per family) and sink to 76th and 106th place for young people, also due to difficulties in accessing the house. well represented by excessively high rents (whose incidence in Rome exceeds 60% of the average declared income). Also bad for young people in Naples (103a), to which are added the negative performances in the youth unemployment rate and in the lower incidence of university graduates.

The pandemic has also caused inequalities to explode, sometimes even generational conflicts, as well as the gaps in some territories. The average number of students per class is striking, ranging from 14 in Trieste to 25 in Parma. In addition, confirming the low propensity of young people to start a family, the nunciature rate (highest in Bolzano, 3.2 per thousand residents) collapsed in 2020 due to the restrictions imposed to contain infections. Finally, the average age of the mother at the birth of the first child was everywhere above 30 years (lowest in Syracuse, 30.7 years).


Behind this selection of indicators there is a demographic map, that of Italy divided by age groups, which shows increasingly evident imbalances. The attractiveness of the territories, in fact, is linked to the needs of the population present in the territory and, from an investment perspective, it is often decisive for conquering new generational targets and curbing the ongoing demographic decline.

Demographic maps

Incidence of children, young people and the elderly on the resident population (total residents = 100) and variation in the last five years

CHILDREN (0-10 YEARS)

YOUNG PEOPLE (18-35 YEARS)

ELDERLY (OVER 65)

It is in the relationship between them that the generations show the main imbalances on the territory. Just give a couple of examples. There are provinces like Naples where the ratio of great-grandparents (over 80) and great-grandchildren (under 10) is in favor of the latter, who are more than double the former. And then there are provinces like Savona where great-grandparents are 32% more. In this case, the national average records a ratio of 1 to 1.

Young people (18-35 years), on the other hand, are everywhere fewer than residents over 65, with peaks in Biella, Ferrara and Savona where 40% fewer are counted in the registry office than elderly people. In the province of Caserta, on the other hand, young residents (between 18 and 35 years) exceed the elderly residents (aged 65 and over) by 21%.

Then there is a relationship that must be carefully observed, to which the sustainability of the pension system is also correlated: residents of working age (15-65 years) are everywhere more than pensioners (over 65), but in Genoa and Savona they are only a little more than double; in Bolzano, on the other hand, residents of working age are 223% more than the elderly of retirement age.

The relationship between generations

The differences (in%) between some generational groups by province

The numbers, of course, can only partially tell the different levels of quality of life of the elderly, young people and children. The scarce availability of statistics capable of investigating these aspects does not help. The three indices, however, while the future of Italy is at stake between inclusion and social cohesion thanks to the funds of the NRP that go in this direction, want to propose a first attempt to analyze generational inequalities, to which decision-makers will increasingly have to look to implement investment policies.

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