Gaspare Tortorici

Irregular citizens: Internal migrations and anti-urbanism in Italy (1955-1965)

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Until February 1961, internal migration in Italy was still regulated by a piece of Fascist legislation that was first enforced in 1939. This law severely limited citizens’ rights to reside anywhere other than their birthplace and created the premise for a paradox: irregular residence in one’s own country. According to my estimates, in 1961 there were up to one million people in this condition all across the peninsula. This paper describes how the abrogation of such law influenced internal migration patterns through newly digitised data from civil registries. I find that this event brought about a substantial, short-lived, spike in population growth rates across provinces with larger cities and industrial centres mostly due to the rapid regularisation of internal migrants already residing there – rather than a dramatic surge of internal migration as a direct consequence of the legal change. These increments were mirrored by an equally sizeable transitory population fall in more peripheral, less-developed, provinces.


  • Internal migration
  • rural-urban migration
  • anti-urbanism
  • Italy


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