The greater presence of foreigners in the northern regions is added to the residual, albeit modest, internal migratory flows, making the Italy a positive migratory balance of around 3% per year in the north ; on the other hand, the migratory balance of the South is negative. From the complex of these trends and the different natural dynamics mentioned, there are slight shifts in the distribution of the population in Italy. Faced with an average national density of about 190 residents / km ², already reached in the 1980s, some regions are seeing a further increase in population: this is the case, in particular, of Campania, which in the period 1986 -98 saw its population increase by 5. 690. 431 residents (418 residents / km ²) to 5. 792 580 (432 residents/km ²); as an example of the opposite sign, Liguria went from 1. 758. 961 residents (equal to 325 residents / km ²) to 1. 632.536 (301 residents / km ²). The overall trend, however, sees a slight loss of population of the Italy northern (with the partial exception of the North-East), a fair stability of the Italy central and selective growth in the South, with not conspicuous shifts in demographic weights, reflected by small variations in densities. In large part, as seems obvious, these variations derive from different demographic behaviors. Indeed, internal mobility has declined considerably during the 1990s (but already before) compared to previous decades. If some regions still have a fairly sensitive positive balance (thus Emilia-Romagna for about 18,000 units in 1998, Veneto for about 8400, Tuscany for about 6000, and the Marche for almost 5,000) and if others, on the contrary, still see large contingents (especially Campania with over 27,500 units, Sicily with over 17,500, Puglia with 14,600 and Calabria with about 8700), it is evident that it is no longer a question of exodus and mass arrivals. Most of the changes in residence now take place in the short to medium range, mainly to the detriment of the cities and to the advantage of the surrounding once rural areas.
Such a strong reduction in internal displacements can be regarded, at least in some respects, as a symptom of a positive evolution and a new attitude of the younger generations (those usually involved in migratory phenomena). Although, in fact, the job offer does not show stronger differences between the various areas, thus discouraging interregional movements, the lack of recourse to emigration also seems to indicate a de facto increase in living conditions in the southern regions: ability to support, with local and mainly family resources, even large shares of the unemployed, albeit often resorting to informal employment. But it also emerged, from a now numerous series of surveys, that young southerners, more educated and aware today than in the past,
However, such a change in well-established and by now traditional behaviors cannot fail to strike, especially if it is evaluated in the perspective of the income differential that distinguishes the northern regions from the southern ones. Compared to an average monthly income per household, which is Italy 3, 5 million pounds (1995), the North-West regions have a value of 3, 9 million (with a maximum in Lombardy of 4, 2) ; those in the North East an average of 4, 0 (with a maximum of 4, one in Emilia-Romagna); the regions of the Center a value of3, 6 (3, 7 in Tuscany); but the southern regions have an average income of only 2, 9 per month per household million, with a minimum of 2, 6 in Calabria. The average income of a Calabrian family, therefore, does not reach two thirds of that of a Lombard family: and for the other southern regions the difference is slightly less. If we then consider that southern families have on average a number of members higher than that of central-northern families, the availability of income per resident will be even more spread: thus, a Calabrian has an income that is little more than half (55÷ 56 %) than that of a Lombard or an Emilia-Romagna. It should be added that the data available for 1996 seem to show a further slight worsening of the gap, even if, on the contrary, the overall number of poor families and individuals undergoes a slight decline (but not, in fact, in the southern regions as a whole). The set of Italians living below the poverty line, evaluated in 1. 190,000 lire a month for each family of two, is equal to 6, 6 million people (1996), of which 4, 9 million live in the South.
However, other indicators point to important structural improvements in the Italian population. Among these, the level of education: the illiteracy rate has fallen below 2 % (although it remains higher than in most economically advanced countries) and the proportion of upper secondary school students has increased. The number of compulsory school pupils, in absolute terms, is contracting as a result of the demographic decline in the respective age groups, but in high schools the contraction is much smaller, as a greater number of children continue their studies. University education, for its part, also recorded absolute increases in enrollment: in the academic year 1997-98 289,388 enrolled students, compared to 241. 340 twelve years earlier (with an increase of about 40 %); over a third of those enrolled come from the southern regions. The set of registered amounted to 68, 4 % of students earned during the previous school year (one of the highest values among the Western countries); also under this profile emerge substantial regional differences between the 59, 7 % of the southern regions and l ‘ 84, 5 % of the central ones, in this case those that present the highest figure. Overall enrolled in degree courses were, again in 1997-98,1,587,549 students; just over a third of those enrolled, however, completed their studies and graduated, for a total of about 100. 000 graduates a year. With regard to the effects of the increase in schooling, it can be emphasized that the direct relationship between the level of education and the postponement of family formation (and, consequently, the number of children per family) is now fully operative in Italy the higher the level of education, the later (up to around 29 years on average for graduates) you get married. But it should be noted that the trend is only partly attributable to the extension of studies per se: even among those with only an elementary or middle school certificate there is a tendency to defer the age of marriage. (see fig. and table 6)