Milan top city for proportion of immigrants

But no banlieues or ghettos.

Milan scores as the Italian city with the highest proportion of foreigners. Its 248,000 non-Italian residents make up just 18.1 per cent of the city population.

Brescia also has the same 18.1 per cent proportion of foreigners as Milan, about 36,500 of its 196,000 residents.

After Milan and Brescia, Prato, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia (in order) come next with over 17 per cent. Rome has the highest number of foreigners, over 363,000, but because the capital is so much larger in population terms, they make up only about 13 per cent.

Overall, the northern and central areas all count around 10 per cent of foreigners in their population, while in the south the proportion drops to under 4 per cent, and on the two major islands – Sicily and Sardinia – to a little over 3 per cent.

The data come from research by a new think-tank “Volta”, based in Milan and Brussels, and published in the Turin daily La Stampa, which describes the organisation as close to prime minister Matteo Renzi.

Looking beyond the bare statistics, the report found that – in contrast with the banlieues of Paris or the Molenbeek suburb of Brussels – immigrants in Italy are spread out and rarely form tight religious or ethnic communities.

Although Milan, Rome and Prato have their Chinatowns, on the whole foreigners have been attracted more to areas offering the possibility of work, and helped by the interior ministry tactic of settling asylum seekers in hundreds of municipalities.