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last updated: October 5, 2005


Milan is one of the most important and populated areas of southern Europe, and is the location for most of the financial and executive activities of the private sector of the Italian economy. It performs a crucial economic role for the southern European market and is the Italian city that best represents the main features of the so-called post-industrial economies.

From this point of view, there is a significant reduction of the three main features that granted stability in the so-called fordist societies and secured enough resources to maintain a mixed system of welfare: household heads in stable long-term jobs, welfare benefits linked to long-term jobs and family benefits granted to household heads. Milan has also experienced a very deep socio-demographic transformation.

The effects of all these trends on poverty and social exclusion are relevant: social tensions increased and reinforced an on-going process of social fragmentation, through the weakening of the traditional class structure. Moreover, the problem of housing in Milan has also had a negative effect on the poor. The combined effect of high rents and the transformation of the historical centre into a business and financial district has resulted in the worsening of living conditions of people who were forced to move to peripheral areas.