Today 4.81 million Italians live in absolute poverty, around eight percent of the country’s population, La Stampa reported.
The figure has risen 99 percent since 2007, a reflection of the steep economic downturn which still looms over Italy.
The study by Coldiretti, the agricultural workers’ organization, found that southern Italy has 2.35 million citizens in absolute poverty. This figure is markedly higher than central Italy’s 684,000 citizens in poverty and the 1.78 million found in the north.
However, Italians are falling into poverty faster in the traditionally more wealthy central and northern regions.
While the south experienced a 90 percent increase in poverty over five years, the north saw a 105 percent increase and 112 percent in the central regions, La Stampa said.
As other European nations show signs of recovery from the economic crisis, Italy’s revised budget could see the country’s public deficit hit 3.1 percent in 2013.
The unemployment rate stands at 12 percent and there has also been a rise in the number of businesses filing for bankruptcy in Italy.
As economic woes continue, a report earlier this month found that Italians are also among the unhappiest in Europe.