A survey on planning, expectations and factors influencing the stabilization process of migrating people in Palermo, Western Sicily


Background. Europe constitutes a major pole of attraction for the migratory fluxes. The migrating population is made up of many different individuals, carrying different projects of life and expectations. The consistence of the phenomena, in few decades, will be responsible for deep changes in the demographic structure of the European population. The purpose of this investigation was to attempt to draw an identikit of migrating people and to evaluate those factors which may be considered important to positively influence the process of stabilization. Moreover, the research tried to evaluate the differences among those migrating people who have recently arrived, still considering this country as a landing shore, and those who have definitely settled in Sicily. Methods. The research was carried out through a 42 items multiple choice answer questionnaire administered to two groups of individuals who were born in a non European Union (EU) country. Individuals, who were still trying to settle (group A), were chosen at random in the streets of the city, while individu- als with a solid and integrated family were chosen at random from the municipality of Palermo, Sicily. To compare the two different groups of individuals Student?s t and Chi square tests were used together with standard descriptive statistics and linear regression analysis. Results. Results seem to indicate that positive factors for integra- tion are years of residence in the same place, support from the family since the very beginning of the migratory project, stable interethnic social structure. What did not seem to constitute determining factors in the territory analysed are: age, gender, country of origin, religion. Higher education levels apparently play a negative role. Child bearing indexes are higher than European levels. Birth rate was use in the attempt of modelling a projection of population growth. Discussion. The collected data brings forth the snapshot of the typical immigrant as a young strong healthy individual, longing to start a family on safe values, who accepts transitory precari- ous living conditions in order to improve them. The major nega- tive factors in the migratory project are those of social nature. Governments have generally adopted a politics of control on entry and of managing the emergency. There is a need for a politics of empowerment and exploitation of the capacity of the migrants. Deep changes occurring in the demographic structure of the European population might influence the social contest. Decrease European birth rate and increasing immigration may create a melting pot, where Europeans may take a role of an endangered species.