Italians report low optimism and mental well-being as country grapples with COVID-19 crisis
People in Italy reported both the third lowest optimism for the future, and fourth lowest mental well-being, in the EU in Eurofound’s Living, working and COVID-19 online survey. The survey amassed over 85,000 responses in April, including 2,676 from Italy. Just 37% of respondents in Italy expressed that they were optimistic about their future, higher than only France and Greece. These findings are set against a backdrop of significant job loss, and reductions in working hours for those remaining in employment.
Overall, the First Findings from Eurofound’s Living, working and COVID-19 online survey show a Europe grappling to respond to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many respondents reporting very low levels of trust in the EU and in their national governments, as well as low levels of optimism for the future.
The survey reveals that the labour market impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have been felt more in Italy than most other parts of Europe. 34% of respondents in Italy reported that they have lost their jobs, either permanently or temporarily, compared to 59% for the EU. 21% expressed that they were afraid of losing their job in the next three months, compared to an EU average of 16%. These labour market impacts were also reflected in responses about financial situation: 46% of respondents in Italy said that their financial situation has worsened, compared to before the crisis; 42% believe it will get worse in the near future; and 17% said they have problems paying their bills. These findings are only partially mitigated by the fact that Italian respondents were more likely to have some savings, with just 17% of Italians saying they have no savings at all, compared to an EU average of 28%.
Speaking about the findings, Massimiliano Mascherini, Eurofound Head of Unit for Social Policies, said, "Broader health, and likely economic implications of the COVID-19 crisis in Italy have been apparent for some time. What we see in this survey is tangible evidence of the vast implications of this pandemic on the Italian labour market and Italian society. This is not just a health crisis, or an economic crisis, it is a societal crisis – and it is impacting almost every aspect of life across Italy.”
- Living, working and COVID-19: First findings – April 2020
- Living, working and COVID-19: Data
- Topic page: Trust
- Forthcoming publication: Living, working and COVID-19 - Overview report
This news piece was updated on 10 June in order to reflect updated calculations on the WHO-5 mental well-being index.