Declared income by Bolognese citizens slightly increased, but almost half of the wealth still remains in the hands of over 60s. The younger age groups, on the other hand, are more in difficulty than in 2002, a year taken as a reference to understand the income dynamics over the medium term. In terms of inequality, meanwhile, the gender gap between men and women still exists, but the gap is slowly narrowing. These are some of the conclusions reached by the unpublished study from the Municipality of Bologna’s Statistical Office concerning personal income tax returns presented in 2016 compared to 2015. The income examined is taxable income for IRPEF purposes. The stats capture a dimension of personal and family wealth, however it does not include detailed information on movable assets and real estate. Still, it reflects an important part of the Bolognese family budget, which the Statistics Office then compared with the same data declared by taxpayers for the year 2002, to compare the medium-term evolution trends strongly influenced by the economic and financial crisis spared nobody.
“For over a decade,” confirms city councillor for finance Davide Conte, “the City of Bologna monitored income trends of its citizens. This is a statistical study useful for the construction of the budget. Statistical data on income compared to information coming from social, cultural and production services confirm some important trends of change. In particular, there are four pieces of information on which the budget is planned, three positive and one negative. Citizens at this stage of the economic cycle are on average better off since there is a slight increase in average income per capita. Compared to previous years, the gap between the average income produced by women and men has decreased, but there’s still a lot to do in terms of reconciliation of family life time and work; a more favourable pension system than in the past that favours an increase in the average income of the older age groups; the most critical element is the progressive impoverishment of those on a lower income class and in particular a significant drop in the income of younger citizens.” In terms of the budget, “in line with what emerges from the data, we have increased the resources for social and younger generations,” concludes the councillor, “and the same exemption manoeuvre for the IRPEF additional impacts right on the low average income brackets and those most at risk. In terms of policies it is important to cross analyse this services and activities in the territory, starting from the project Insieme per il lavoro, which puts the Municipality, the Diocese and the business world together on the same path.”
In 2015, €7.326 billion of taxable income for income tax purposes was declared in Bologna, compared to €7.226 billion in the previous year. The number of taxpayers stands at 293,587: those between 45-59 are on the rise and, to a lesser extent, the elderly over 75. The younger class goes up to the age of 29, while the decline in age appears to be 30-44 and 60-74 years. These dynamics are however consistent with the corresponding demographic levers. The average taxable income amounts to 24.955 euro per taxpayer, compared to 24.628 euro registered in 2014. Among the large Italian cities, Bologna is ranked third in the ranking of average income with Milan in a dominant position. The median income (the value that divides the distribution in exactly half of the distribution, positioning 50% of taxpayers above this threshold and the other 50% below) is equal to 19,557 euro against 19,408 euro of the previous year. To make a correct comparison between the two years it is also necessary to bear in mind that in Bologna in 2015 there was an average negative inflation rate of -0.6%. Therefore both in nominal and real terms, average income and the median income in the city increased slightly.
The statistical analysis also concerned the nationality of tax payers, thus discovering that the number of Italians between 2014-2015 fell from 253.680 to 253.098, while that of foreigners rose from 27.867-28.634. Therefore 10.2% of taxpayers living in the city are foreign and the percentage rises to 16.3% among the under 60. In 2002 the number of foreign taxpayers was much lower, equal to only 3.5% of the total. The taxable income of both is increasing, but the median income establishes a huge gap compared to foreigners. Italians on average earn about 21,000 euro, while foreigners take home just over 10,000.
Finally, zooming in on household income: over 88,500 families of taxpayers are composed of one person; the median income of singles in 2015 is equal to about 20,000 euro. Subsequently, families of two reveal that the median income per capita falls to just over 17,600 euro. Less numerous are families with 3 or more members to whom it is, of course, gradually associated with a lower median per capita income.