Survey reveals widespread perception of racism against Africans in Italy

A view of Tiber river and the city is seen in Rome, Italy on March 24, 2024. Picture: Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via AFP

A view of Tiber river and the city is seen in Rome, Italy on March 24, 2024. Picture: Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via AFP

Published Mar 25, 2024


A recent survey conducted by Ipsos for Amref-Italy sheds light on Italians' perceptions of racism and discrimination against Africans in Italy, revealing concerning trends of racism within the European continent.

According to the findings of the survey, titled "Africa and Health: the opinion of Italians," a significant majority of Italians perceive Africans as subject to frequent episodes of racism and discrimination in Italy.

The survey, conducted in October 2023 on a representative sample of 800 individuals, revealed that 22% of respondents believe Africans face racism and discrimination very often, while 48% perceive these episodes to occur quite often.

The report also addresses issues such as obstacles to integration and the current citizenship law, providing critical insights into Italian societal attitudes towards racialised communities.

Roberta Rughetti, deputy director of Amref Italy, acknowledges the pervasive nature of systemic racism in the country.

"We acknowledge that often, in spite of ourselves, the language, even the gaze go to consolidate a systemic racism, which pervades our country."

Rughetti emphasised the need for “collective action to dismantle barriers that perpetuate racial discrimination and marginalisation, both privately and socially.”

The survey findings further highlight a significant discrepancy in Italians' perception of the African population in Italy. Only 11% of respondents correctly estimated the number of Africans living in Italy, while 71% underestimated their presence.

Conversely, when asked about the proportion of African citizens among foreign residents, 34% of Italians overestimated their presence, indicating a lack of accurate awareness.

The survey also delves into perceptions of African integration into Italian society. A staggering 53% of respondents believe there are too many African citizens in Italy who are not well integrated, with concerns ranging from perceived exploitation as cheap labour to cultural differences and inadequate integration programs.

In addressing these challenges, the survey underscores public support for legislative changes to promote social justice with 64% of respondents expressing approval for a new citizenship law, particularly endorsing provisions that grant Italian citizenship to children of foreign immigrants born or raised in Italy.

Amidst these findings, the survey serves as a call to action for increased awareness and dialogue to combat anti-black racism, Afrophobia, and all forms of racial discrimination in Italy.

In 2023, Italy experienced significant migration flows, with immigrants arriving from various regions. According to, the central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy became Europe’s busiest migration path during this period.

First-time asylum applicants in Italy arrived from a range of countries. Of these, 47% were from Asia, 22% held African citizenship, 16% had European citizenship (non-EU) and 14% were from North or South America.