15 - Veneto and its provinces
The previous chapter compared Veneto with its competitor Italian and European regions. This chapter, however, takes a look at what is happening within the region with an analysis of its provinces and their quality of life.
We will be looking at the same issues as before from two substantially different, yet equally interesting, points of view. The first looks at the provinces objectively by using statistical data from national sources; the second is more subjective, yet still relevant, as it is based on the opinions of individuals who have been asked to assess their quality of life.
In order afford a deeper insight into this second aspect, Regione Veneto has commissioned Studio Sintesi to set up a project on the state and perception of quality of life and wellbeing in Veneto's provinces.
This study is divided into two parts: the first uses official statistical data to look at specific issues that will enable the health of the region as a whole, and that of its citizens, to be assessed through the joint observation of key variables.
Eight issues have been chosen as representative of different aspects of the region, ones that can be used to assess economic and social differences in Veneto. They are Environment and territory; Economic wellbeing; Business; Education and culture; Work; Infrastructure and mobility; Health; and Demographics and Social.
Each issue encompasses a range of basic recognised indicators in order to provide a comprehensive insight into life in the provinces. The study comprises 123 indicators that are divided between the 8 aforementioned issues.
Veneto's provinces have been compared on two levels that assess the results of each basic indicator and provide a wider picture than the traditional one-dimensional view, with summary indicators (Note 1) that have been created for each category in order to provide a simple yet accurate insight into each individual province.
The use of statistical analysis with simple summary indicators is a major advantage if we are to draw up provincial rankings in each area of quality of life.
The second part of the Studio Sintesi project envisages a three-year sample survey of Veneto citizens on their perception of quality of life and wellbeing, the results of which will soon be available.
This chapter includes the results of the first part of the study.
A provincial ranking was drawn up on the basis of the average summary indicators processed by Studio Sintesi for each one of the eight issues. A territorial analysis governed by three indicators deemed important for each issue was also provided.
Before going into each issue in greater detail, we should highlight some general points based on Studio Sintesi's work.
There were some differences between the larger urban centres (Padova and Verona), which have a 'polarising' effect, and the provinces with smaller centres, i.e. all of the others. We should remember that Veneto's development model is based on widespread industry and on a multitude of small urban centres that are undergoing development. The study revealed a reconcentration of economic activity due to weakening industry and developing services. Padova and Verona are the two centres that manage, for different reasons, to take fuller advantage of this type of development.
Although the region is fairly homogeneous, especially in comparison with other Italian provinces, some differences are noticeable when examining certain variables, "Culture" and "Demographics and social" in particular. The hallmark of Veneto's provinces is that they have always managed to avoid the major problems of urban concentration while reaping the benefits brought by developing services and business. In Padova and Verona, however, things are starting to change and now they seem to have two characteristics that set them apart from this model. Firstly, their larger size means that they manage to offer services that cannot be produced in other centres (the urban gravitation areas of these cities comprise more than half a million people); the results are particularly noticeable in "Culture", where Padova and Verona are two of the most developed cities in Italy (unlike Veneto's other provincial capitals). They are, however, starting to develop the problems associated with larger cities, such as increased crime and need for better infrastructure. Padova has partly alleviated these questions with recent investments in roads and transport.
(Figure 15.1) The environment and territory of any area are factors that influence citizens' quality of life. Analysing characteristic indicators and summary indicators provides an insight into our world and enables us to assess indirectly the impact or repercussions that policies for environmental protection and natural heritage conservation can have on an area. Such policies include the most recent traffic restriction laws that aim to reduce atmospheric pollution caused by particulate matter.
The first result obtained by analysis of environmental data reveals that the province of Belluno leads the way, even though the provinces of Treviso and Rovigo are close on its heels. The environmental resources of these areas suffer lower exploitation and have a better balance between environment and urban fabric, with a consequent reduction in pollution. Belluno, in particular, stands out for its low pollution levels, low population density and one of the lowest attractiveness indices of any capital (meaning percentage of the provincial population living in the capital municipality).
The bottom two places in the environment and territory ranking are occupied by the provinces of Venezia and Padova, which justifies a detailed analysis of the difficulties that these areas have to face every day. The study reveals that the provinces of Venezia and Padova are characterised by higher than average population density; by atmospheric pollution indicators which remain over legal limits, at least during winter, despite policies to combat pollution; and by a level of territorial exploitation that is often higher than the national average. The provinces of Belluno and Treviso distinguish themselves in all of these factors: the former, in particular, because its geography means its population is low, while the latter because sustainable development policies have been implemented despite intensive urbanisation, unlike in other business-oriented provinces.
The province of Venezia brings up the rear in terms of the quality of life provided by its environment and territory, but it should be treated as a separate case. The reasons for its poor performance are due both to objective difficulties in managing unsustainable pollution levels and to a host of problems that more or less directly depend upon its particular geography and morphology. (Figure 15.2)
The local population can be considered a sort of sensor as to the quality of life that an area can offer in that it is obvious that people seek to live in suitable, convenient areas, even though this can trigger a vicious circle. An area cannot host an infinite number of people and, at a certain point, too high a density indicator becomes a sign of saturation rather than wellbeing. Judging by the expansion it has undergone in recent years, the most attractive area of Veneto seems to be the central northern area, including the piedmont area in the provinces of Vicenza and Treviso. A dense and uninterrupted metropolitan area was formed, whose nerve centres are the provincial capitals, above all the axis of Venezia-Padova-Verona. It is an area with resources that drive development and attract energy as it is home to 90% of Veneto's population.
At the end of 2006, Veneto had 4,773,554 residents with a density of 259.5 inhabitants per square kilometre, a 5.4% increase on the previous five-year period. During the same period, the number of inhabitants grew by even higher numbers in the province of Treviso, followed by Verona, Vicenza and Padova. This growth is partly due to foreign newcomers who are attracted by the better work opportunities and lifestyle and is mainly characteristic of the central metropolitan area and major provincial capitals, although growth is increasingly spreading to all of the region's municipalities. Out of the aforementioned metropolitan-area provinces, Padova has the highest population density and lowest population growth (after Venezia). This may be a sign that the area is saturated: a factor that has a negative influence on quality of life. (Figure 15.3)
When people talk about the environment, pollution, and air quality in particular, is normally the first subject that comes to mind. An important indicator is the presence of Particulate Matter, PM10, which is a by-product of combustion and - especially in urban centres - of traffic and household heating. Nowadays, the concentration of particulate matter in the air is an emergency that public administrations are forced to deal with each time autumn and winter come around. Until a few years ago, PM10 was rarely monitored but today it is checked almost as systematically as other pollutants such as sulphur anhydride and carbon monoxide.
The data analysed in this part refer more to the capital municipalities than to the provinces as they are the areas most exposed to atmospheric pollution.
On a positive note, however, the concentration of particulate matter has dropped over the past five years due to the sustainable environment policies adopted by local administrations, to restricted traffic areas, and to limits on vehicle circulation, as well as to encouraging residents to use public transport and to purchasing non-polluting public transport.
The bad news, however, is that in 2006 Belluno was the only province to record an average annual value that was below the limit value for human health: 40 µg./m3. Treviso is on the limit. Medium-size cities such as Padova, Verona and Vicenza are recording values similar to large cities such as Milano. The situation in Verona and Vicenza is particularly critical, also because they are the capitals of the two provinces with the highest motorisation density; one station in Verona detected average annual concentrations that were more than 50% higher than the 40 µg./m3 limit value; and all of the stations in Vicenza recorded average concentration values above the limit value. These results illustrate that although environment policies have improved the situation, there is still a long way to go before air quality will be considered healthy. (Figure 15.4)
The adoption of separated waste collection by municipal administrations and the participation of the public are certainly a good idea; they are also an indicator of awareness towards environmental issues and of civic duty, not to mention a good way of improving quality of life.
The chapter dedicated to environment already mentioned the excellent results Veneto has achieved in the management of urban waste, the production of which is creeping up every year on account of increased consumption. In 2006, thanks to the collection of almost 1.2 million tonnes of separated waste, most urban waste no longer ended up at the dump but was recovered in different ways, substituting raw materials in the production of new consumer goods and contributing to the growth of the recycling and recovery industry. A comparison of provinces reveals some notable differences both in waste production and in separate waste collection. Results are good, however, as all seven provinces have either reached or exceeded the 35% benchmark for separate waste collection that was supposed to be reached by 2003 in accordance with Legislative Decree 22/97 (five provinces are already well over the 40% benchmark set for 31 December 2007 in accordance with Law no. 296 of 27/12/06).
In 2006, Veneto produced 495 kg of urban waste per inhabitant, which is equal to 1.36 kg/inhabitant per day). At provincial level, production ranges from a maximum of 1.8 kg/inhabitant per day in the province of Venezia, a figure also due to the high number of tourists, to a minimum of 1.05 kg/inhabitant per day in the province of Treviso, the most virtuous of the seven, which also distinguishes itself for its widespread door-to-door collection systems.
Veneto has also achieved 49% separated waste collection, a figure that has increased by more than 14 percentage points in the last five years. Treviso is the province with by far the best results in the last year (66%), followed by Padova, Vicenza and Rovigo (all between 51% and 55%). It is also encouraging to note that the region's good results continue to improve, as an increasing amount of waste is recovered instead of being sent to the dump.
(Figure 15.5) Economic wellbeing is an aspect that often appears to be synonymous with the concept of "good living" and is the second issue we will look at in order to paint a complete picture of quality of life in the provinces.
Analysis is based on a series of indicators that help to describe the "state of health", i.e. the economic wealth that characterises each province, and to understand how their residents benefit.
The average summary indicator creates a ranking that seems to be almost the reverse of the Environment and territory ranking. Two of the provinces that led the way in the Environment and territory ranking, Belluno and Rovigo, languish at the bottom of the Economic wellbeing ranking.
This result is mainly due to their low income indicators (average household income, disposable income per capita, average pension) and to their bank deposits, as well as to lower recourse to bank loans and consumer credit.
Verona and Venezia, followed by Vicenza, take up the top three steps of the podium; in these cases, disposable income and greater wealth convert into higher consumer spending, without having to become steeped in debt with the bank. The results of this ranking are also based on popularity with tourists: the provinces of Venezia and Verona with their artistic and cultural heritage lead the way in Veneto. (Figure 15.6)
Added value per capita is the average amount of wealth each resident contributes to the entire economy of a given area (i.e. the balance between production and intermediate consumption.) It is an effective indicator for quality of life and economic development; it also has far-reaching effects on consumption and its quality. As this is an average figure, it is impossibile to establish how wealth is distributed within the population.
In 2005 added value per Veneto resident was 25,699 euros, a figure that was almost 4,000 euros more than the average national added value of 21,806 euros.
From 2001 to 2005, all of Veneto's provinces recorded an increase in added value per capita of more than five percentage points, with the highest growth rates in the provinces of Rovigo, up 17.9%; Padova, up 15.8%; and Venezia, up 13.7%. Vicenza was the province that recorded the lowest growth, up 5.9%.
In 2005 Padova had the highest added value per capita with 26,658 euros, pipping Vicenza with 26,107 euros; then came Verona with 25,993 euros; Venezia with 25,638 euros; Treviso with 25,242 euros; and Belluno with 25,016 euros. Although Rovigo had the highest growth during this period, it is still the province with the lowest added value per capita, with about 3,500 euros less than the regional average. (Figure 15.7)
Figures for household expenditure on goods and services are one of the main ways to describe, analyse and interpret how and what Veneto families consume. Consumption level is a key component in the formation of aggregate demand and thus in the creation of regional income. It enables us to analyse and to observe how the level and structure of expenditure evolve in accordance with the main social and economic characteristics and location of families, not to mention their composition, living conditions and spending habits.
In the last year of this study, 2005, the provinces of Verona, Venezia and Belluno confirmed their position as the areas with the highest average household expenditure, with figures of more than 40 thousand euros. In the other provinces, average household expenditure ranged from 38,541 euros in Padova to about 32,600 euros in Rovigo, which had the lowest figure.
In this five-year period, 2000:2005, the largest growth in average household expenditure was in the province of Belluno, up 10.2%; it was followed by the provinces of Venezia, up 8.2%; Verona, up 6.3%; Rovigo, up 5.3%; and Padova and Vicenza, up 5.2%. Treviso had the lowest growth rate with 3.5 percentage points. (Figure 15.8)
The different types of tourism can be illustrated with the length of stay indicator, which provides figures for the average number of nights spent by tourists in accommodation establishments: prolonged holiday periods mainly take place in coastal and mountain areas, which attract tourist flows associated with "long" holidays; short stays are associated with historical cities, cultural tourism and business destinations.
This rule also applies to Veneto where holidays spent in historical cities are the shortest: in 2007 cities in the province of Padova saw holidaymakers stay for an average of two nights; in Venice its was 2.4; Treviso 2.6; Vicenza 2.7; and Verona 3.
Mountain and beach areas, however, are characterised by longer stays: the province of Rovigo, whose beach resort Rosolina accounts for 80% of provincial flows, had the highest average length of stay with 6.3 days; Rovigo was followed by Belluno, which includes the eponymous local tourist network (STL) (Note 2), where holidays lasted an average of 9.1 days; and the STL of the Dolomiti (Note 3) where the average stay was 5.5 days.
Beach resorts in the province of Venezia experienced average holidays of more than one week: Bibione and Caorle 8 days; Chioggia 8.1; and Cavallino-Treporti 9.1.
Stays on Lago di Garda lasted an average of 5 days, as did holidays in the Veneto's spa area Terme Euganee with 5.2 days. The Altopiano di Asiago area reached almost 7 days.
Over the last few years, the number of arrivals has increased, but the number of nights spent has dropped; although Veneto has become more popular with tourists, tourists are slowly reducing the length of their stay, but the number of holidays is actually increasing.
(Figure 15.9) This section analyses the provincial economy by using typical business parameters. It takes into account not only indicators governing the characteristics of the economic system, but also macro-economic variables.
Results here also show that the region has a well defined economic situation with some areas being more dynamic than others. The provinces of Belluno and Rovigo are still some way behind the other provinces as their industrial development is still very slow and their growth was limited in the most recent phase of the economic cycle.
The provinces of Vicenza and Verona still head the ranking for the contribution their businesses make to quality of life. These provinces can rely on a more sturdy and structured business system, one that enables the economic and social structure to react better when the economy suffers a downturn, which has happened in recent years.
These characteristics, in conjunction with a tried-and-tested enterprise system, are evenly distributed between industry, agriculture and services and have enabled Vicenza and Verona to lead the way in the regional business rankings.
They are followed by the provinces of Treviso, Venezia and Padova, whose figures are in line with the regional average. Treviso stands out for the proven ability of its local business system to export, which has led to a high rate of openness and improvements in overall quality of life. Although Padova has the highest values for added value growth, it is penalised by its increased inflation. (Figure 15.10)
In economics added value is the increase in value that occurs in the production and distribution of goods and services due to the intervention of production factors. An enterprise purchases the goods and services it needs to produce other goods and services. Added value is the difference between the value of goods and services produced and the value of goods and services purchased for use in the production process.
In 2006, Veneto confirmed its position as one of Italy's leading economic regions, as it contributed 9.4% to national added value. In the five-year period examined, added value produced in Veneto grew by 7.2% from 101,192 million euros in 2001 to 108,457 million euros in 2006. These figures were calculated with constant prices using 2000 as a base year.
In 2006 the province of Padova came first with its contribution of 19.5% of regional added value, followed by Verona, which dropped from first to third with 18.7%; Treviso contributed 17.9%, Vicenza 17.8%, Venezia 17.3%, Rovigo 4.5% and Belluno 4.4%.
Analysis of growth rates during the five-year period in question highlights an increase in added value that was higher than the regional average of 7.2% in some provinces: Padova increased the most with 12.7%, then Rovigo up 10.2%, and Treviso up 9.3%. Belluno and Vicenza were where added value grew the least: up 2.9% and 2.6% respectively. (Figure 15.11)
Over the last few decades, tertiarisation is one of the trends that has characterised the transformation of entrepreneurial systems in all advanced economies; this trend has manifested itself with the spontaneous growth of wealth and employment in the service sector. Services, especially those that deal with functions directly and indirectly linked to business, are a key sector that can be used as a cornerstone for the economic development of an area.
In recent years, tertiarisation in Veneto has followed different paths. A transformation in commercial businesses, which have maintained fairly constant numbers, has seen the business service sector drive the growth of Veneto's tertiary sector. See Chapter 5.4 for further details. Stand-out businesses include estate agencies, IT services as well as education and training services.
The percentage of active enterprises in trade and in services out of the total number of active enterprises is one of the indicators that is used to measure an economy's level of tertiarisation.
In 2007, the Veneto province with the highest level of tertiarisation was Venezia with 56.2%; just behind was Belluno with 53.6%, then Padova and Vicenza with 51.5%; the province with the lowest level was Rovigo with just under 42%.
By analysing the difference in values between the years 2002 and 2007, the best results for growth in the level of tertiarisation were in the provinces of Treviso up 3.6%, Venezia up 3.3%, and Padova and Vicenza each up 3%. (Figure 15.12)
An enterprise system's strength can be measured by the rate of international market penetration; foreign trade is one of the main ways of calculating openness levels.
In 2006 Veneto was once again Italy's leading region for international trade; its propensity towards export, i.e. the ratio between export value and regional added value, is 36.9% against a national average of 25.2%.
The province of Vicenza maintained its lead in the regional export ranking with a share of 29.9% and a propensity towards export that is just over 63 percentage points. Treviso was the second leading province for propensity towards export with 44.8% of the added value produced; then came Belluno with 42.4%, Verona with 32.5%, Padova with 30.2%, and Venezia with 20.8%. Rovigo was still the province with the lowest propensity towards export with figures of just over 17 percentage points.
Analysing the five-year period in question reveals that five provinces out of seven saw their propensity towards export increase: Belluno had the highest growth with a 7.7% increase on 2001; then came Vicenza with a 2.3% increase, followed by Padova up 1.5%, Verona up 1.1%, and Rovigo up 0.5%. Propensity towards export in Treviso dropped by 1.7%, as it did in Venezia, where it fell by 4.3%. The drop in Venezia was due to a fall in the value of provincial exports in the aerospace vehicle industry.
(Figure 15.13) The level of education and culture is an essential issue when evaluating an area's quality of life. The ability to learn and to go onto higher education is a key part of a person's life and can also affect quality. If a local population has a good level of education and culture, then this will be transferred to enterprises in macroeconomic terms in the shape of qualified human resources.
The province of Padova has excellent levels and has proved it has solid foundations in training and schooling: the province has the highest number of young people aged 19 years old and over who have a upper secondary diploma; it also has the highest number of graduates per inhabitant.
The provinces of Belluno and Venezia lie in second and third place respectively with good figures for some indicators, yet they both lag some way behind Padova. Belluno has the highest number of establishments for training and education per inhabitant as well as the most libraries; Venezia competes with Padova for university education and for its high number of cultural establishments.
The provinces of Verona, Treviso and Vicenza are further behind with fewer libraries per inhabitant and a lower number of graduates. The study reveals that the inhabitants of these provinces have a low propensity to read daily papers, yet many go to the cinema.
Rovigo is the tail-light in this ranking, despite having the highest schooling rate between the ages of 14 and 19 years old and the highest number of newspaper readers per inhabitant. Its low regional value for cultural and recreational establishments suggests that Rovigo's weak points lie in its structure. (Figure 15.14)
Instruction is not only vital for an individual's education and culture, but it is also the basis on which to construct one's professional future.
In a highly competitive society such as ours, education, especially in secondary schools, is an essential step towards employment.
The upper secondary education rate, i.e. the percentage of 14-18 year olds enrolled in a upper secondary school, is increasing, and exceeded 89% in Veneto in 2007; this value, however, is three percentage points below the national figure. In regions with a higher employment rate, young people often decide to finish studying so that they can start earning, whereas students tend to continue their studies in areas where employment is less readily available.
Enrolment in secondary schools is higher than the regional average in the provinces of Rovigo (98.4%), Belluno (94.9%), Treviso (92.2%) and Vicenza (90.1%); whereas the provinces of Venezia and Verona are behind with a little over 85 students enrolled per 100 students between 14 and 18 years of age.
In comparison to 2003, the upper secondary education rate only fell in the province of Venezia, dropping again in 2007 by 2.2 percentage points. Major growth occurred in Padova and Verona where there was a consistent rise in upper secondary school enrolment with figures that were more than three percentage points above the figure for four years previously. (Figure 15.15)
In a knowledge society, education and training are keystones to ensuring better quality of life for individuals and communities as well as greater social cohesion. Less qualified people tend to have lower quality of life and run the risk of marginalisation.
Graduation is essential in today's increasingly dynamic, technological and innovative society and leads to greater individual wellbeing.
In Veneto a higher number of students are completing their degree courses: the Venetian faculties have increased its graduates by two-thirds over five years, reaching more than 21,430 graduates in 2006 and thus educating more than 7% of the national total.
Looking at the citizens of Venetian provinces individually, Padova has the highest figures with 5 new graduates every 1,000 inhabitants in 2006. Rovigo comes next with a graduate share of 4.7. These two provinces also stand out for improving the education of the population over the years; in comparison to five years previously, the share of new graduates grew by more than two percentage points for both provinces. The lowest growth was in Venezia, with just over one percentage point, while Vicenza had the lowest number of new graduates (4.2 for every 1,000 inhabitants).
There was nevertheless an overall increase in the levels of higher education throughout Veneto's provinces, an indication that Veneto families were more inclined to invest in the future of their children by increasing their knowledge and competences. (Figure 15.16)
An area's cultural and recreational establishments need to be measured in order to establish the level of cultural competitiveness and attractiveness.
The ratio between national and provincial equipment indicators creates a value that can be used to compare each area: a value of 100 is used for the entire national economy with lower and higher values being used to determine whether an area is above or below national average.
In 2004, the provinces of Padova and Venezia revealed infrastructure indicators that were on average 70.3% and 64.6% respectively above the national average; the provinces of Vicenza, Verona and Treviso had indicators that were closer to the national average, although below it; the provinces of Belluno and Rovigo were well below national average.
Between 2000 and 2004, there was a drop in the index for all of the provinces apart from Treviso (up 10.9%) and Verona (up 1.6%).
(Figure 15.17) Work is another important issue that affects quality of life. In order to achieve a satisfactory level of wellbeing, an area needs to have a sturdy labour market. The provinces of Veneto most certainly fall within this category as they enjoy a leading position in the national rankings and, apart from some rare exceptions, they are hardly ever exposed to labour market tensions. Even when unemployment is high, it is nothing more than a deliberate decision of the local population (structural unemployment), who continue to look for work while they await the most satisfactory offer.
Within a strong economic framework, distinctions can be made in order highlight some characteristics of each province's labour market.
The overall ranking reveals that the province of Treviso has highest employment figures in the region: this is partly due to the high number of foreign workers and to good figures for female employment.
Notable progress has been made by Belluno, which came second in the ranking, although it still lags some way behind Treviso. The province's good results are mainly due to low general unemployment and to positive figures for female employment, which is the highest in Veneto.
At the other end of the regional ranking lie Venezia and Rovigo, with the latter especially lagging way behind all of the other provinces. Both these provinces have employment rates that are lower than the regional average, but while unemployment in Venezia is general, in Rovigo the weak areas of the labour market are mainly young people and women. (Figure 15.18)
In a country founded on work and the participation of all workers in society's economic, social and political organisation, high levels of employment need to be maintained firstly in order to sustain the demographics, which weigh heavily on the economically active population in Veneto's labour market, and secondly to ensure a respectable quality of life for its citizens.
In Veneto in 2007 65.8% of the population aged between 15 and 64 years old were employed, a figure higher than the national average of 58.7%. Veneto is Italy's fifth leading region for employment levels. The situation in Veneto has improved constantly in recent years and employment has risen by 2.3% on 2004. However, there is still a long way to go before Veneto achieves the Lisbon objective, which has set a 70% employment level by 2010.
Belluno, Treviso and Verona were the leading three provinces in Veneto for employment rate in 2007 with 67.8%, 67.5% and 66.9% of the working-age population respectively; these provinces have proved they have the foundations to reach the European employment target in the next few years. Just behind them lie the provinces of Padova (65.9%), Vicenza (65.6%) and Rovigo (64.5%), although figures for the province of Venezia lag a little behind with fewer than 63 employed persons per 100 people between the ages of 15 and 64.
What is more, the trend in almost all of the seven provinces was one of growth: Vicenza was the only province where employment fell between 2004 to 2007, dropping by around 2%. Over the last three years, the percentage of employed persons in the population between 15 and 64 years of age rose in the provinces of Verona and Rovigo by 5% and 5.7% respectively; between 2004 and 2007 the employment rate rose in Belluno by 3.5%, in Treviso by 2.6%, in Padova by 2.3%, and in Venezia by 2.1%, figures which, although low, were still significant. (Figure 15.19)
Increased participation of women in the labour market is essential to achieving economic objectives, especially in view of rapid transformations and a continual drop in the economically active population.
In 2007 in Veneto the employment rate for women between 15 and 64 years of age, i.e. the ratio between the number of employed persons within that age bracket and their peers, was 57%, more than six percentage points above the national average and almost one percentage point more than the figure for 2004.
Belluno is well above the regional average with a female employment rate of 62.5%, a rate that rose by 4% on three years previously. It is also one of the leading provinces in Italy for its low levels of female unemployment, ranking tenth. Figures are also high in Treviso (59.4%), Verona (58.1%) and Vicenza (57.8%). Venezia, however, not only has a percentage of female employment that is much lower than the regional average, almost five percentage points, but it also suffered the biggest fall on the figures taken three years previously. On a positive note, Rovigo recorded the highest growth in these years: up 6.2% on 2004.
Despite higher female employment levels, there is still an enormous gender gap and women still need to overcome a host of obstacles if they are to achieve their full potential. (Figure 15.20)
The European Commission has identified young people as a weak and vulnerable category and has requested that member states concentrate on youth employment. The importance of the youth issue in European employment policies has also been raised by the Employment Committee (EMCO).
Veneto's youth employment is positive within the national context. Youth unemployment in Veneto in 2007 was 8.4% compared with the Italian figure of more than 20%. However, there is still a wide gender gap: youth unemployment among Veneto women was 12.5%, more than seven percentage points above the male unemployment rate.
The Veneto provinces performing best in 2007 were Rovigo, Verona and Belluno; their unemployment rates were all below 6% and their rate variations on 2004 showed an enormous drop over the last few years. In 2007, the provinces of Vicenza and Treviso exceeded Veneto's average youth unemployment rate with 8.8% and 9% respectively. The real problem in these provinces, however, is that youth unemployment has increased significantly since 2004. In 2007, the highest rates of youth unemployment were in the provinces of Venezia and Padova, which had rates of 9.6% and 11% respectively. Although these figures are by no means positive, in the last few years they have dropped sharply and are heading, albeit slowly, in the right direction.
(Figure 15.21) A range of infrastructure and mobility parameters has been used to produce an indicator that summarises the equipment and service quality levels offered by the region's provinces. This indicator comprises both specific information on local mobility, and thus on its ability to transport citizens and goods, and on conserving and optimising use of the city and its surrounding area. A clear picture of Veneto emerges with the provinces of Padova and Treviso at each of the scale.
The results of the province of Padova have been achieved by adopting environmental policies, but the province of Treviso, which came bottom in the ranking, leaves us somewhat perplexed.
This result could be explained by a lack of suitable planning for infrastructure and conservation to match the recent rapid growth of Treviso's economic and production system. Treviso has the lowest levels of restricted traffica areas (ZTLs) per number of inhabitants and scarce use of public transport to travel to work. The time Treviso's residents take to travel to work is lower than in other provinces, but although this may be a short-term advantage, in the long-term excessive use of private vehicles could have major repercussions on pollution levels.
At the top end of the ranking, Padova has the best combination of mobility infrastructure and service demand, although it too has high motorisation density. Its fine results are due to the extensive network of bicycle lanes and restricted traffic areas, a good level of public transport use, and the introduction of a metrobus as an alternative to traditional public transport.
Special mention should be made of the province of Venezia, which once again had the best organised public transport system, both in its provincial capital and in the rest of the province, with high use by citizens both to travel to work and to go about their daily business. The recent spread of pedestrian areas also had a good impact with the best results of the entire region. (Figure 15.22)
Restricted traffic areas (Zone a Traffico Limitato - ZTLs) are one of the main tools used by local administrations to dissuade private vehicle users. ZTLs are used in almost all of Italy's cities, both big and small, in order to improve the quality of life in urban areas. They were initially introduced to protect historical centres and the wide range of valued city areas not only because they reduce noise and atmospheric pollution, but also because they select the most suitable vehicles for urban roads, cut-out wildcat parking, free-up spaces for bicycles and pedestrians, make it easier for residents to park, and simplify daily life for citizens.
If we look only at Veneto's capital municipalities, we note that Padova and Verona are the cities with the most ZTLs per capita with values that are much higher than Rovigo, Venezia and Treviso.
Figures for variation over time, however, are a little disconcerting. Strong positive variations combine with equally negative ones. This may be a symptom of differing intensity in the use of these policies, which leads to fragmentation and discontinuity in the results.
However, when we consider that the overall coverage of ZTLs in Italy's provincial capitals was 4 m2/inhabitant in 2005, the situation in Veneto's provincial capitals is unsatisfactory: only Padova is almost at this level, while two municipalities have less than 1 m2 per inhabitant. (Figure 15.23)
The number of vehicles on the roads is an important figure if we want to describe how much pressure the environment is under. It is especially important when considered in proportion to the amount of road and to the population. Vehicle density is one of the most critical elements for cities. The consequences of vehicle traffic are well known: air pollution due to exhaust emissions; clogged and congested roads; nightmare city-centre parking; and higher likelihood of an accident, to name the most common. Despite all these negatives repercussions, more and more people are using cars and other vehicles. During 2006, the last year for which data are available, the size of vehicle stock increased, reaching a total of 3,690,493 units: 2,829,512 cars and 369,698 freight lorries and trailers. The figures for vehicle density on the road network (70 vehicles/km) also make for interesting reading; not only did the number of vehicles rise continuously between 2002 and 2006, but figures were also much higher than the national average of 55.
Motorisation density also continues to rise: in 2006 Veneto had 77 vehicles per 100 inhabitants (Italian figure: 78). Verona is the province with the highest figures with 81 vehicles per 100 inhabitants, followed by Vicenza and Padova with 80. For these provinces with their high values, the margin for further growth seems to be contained; indeed the variation in motorisation density over the last five years was around 4%. Growth in the provinces of Rovigo and Belluno was more marked. In the last year motorisation density was up by 10% and 7.5% respectively, which is similar to the Italian average.
The province of Venezia had the lowest figures in this category with about 67 vehicles per 100 inhabitants. This is by no means a bad position to be in and is due to the province's organisation and preference for public transport over private means. (Figure 15.24)
To reduce traffic and pollution in cities, one possible alternative, in addition to traditional means of dissuading private vehicles, is to encourage the use of public transport by increasing the number and quality of vehicle stock.
Regarding public transport in Veneto's capital municipalities in 2005, for every 100 km2 of surface area there were 193 km of bus, tram and trolley bus routes (Italian figure: 163); Treviso had the most with 342 km and Rovigo the least with 57 km. This figure has remained largely the same since 2000 for many capital muncipalities, except for Vicenza (up 10.8%) and Verona (up 4.7%). In the regional capitals in 2005 there were 10.6 buses on the roads per 10,000 inhabitants (Italian figure: 8.9) an increase of 7% compared to the previous five-year period. Venezia had the highest number with 16.5 (which includes its water-buses) and Rovigo the lowest with 7.5.
On the other hand, however, the demand for public transport indicator reveals that Veneto's citizens are not particularly disposed towards using the service. In 2005 public transport carried 161 passengers per inhabitant in comparison to the 217 national figure. Public transport in each of the capital municipalities, apart from in Venezia which should be looked at individually, transported fewer passengers per year than the national average.
Despite having one of the highest motorisation densities, Padova was the capital municipality with figures nearer to the national figure, although it was still some way behind. This result was probably due to the incentive to use public transport following the introduction of the new metrobus.
Padova is also the city that experienced the greatest increase during the 2000:2005 period, followed by Belluno. Demand in the other cities was almost unchanged, or actually fell.
The municipality of Venezia deserves a special note: the high demand for public transport may be due to the use of public water-buses by the vast numbers of tourists and to the almost obligatory use of buses by mainland residents who travel to Venezia every day for study or work.
(Figure 15.25) The state of citizens' health and of the public healthcare system is one of the main indicators for evaluating a population's and an area's quality of life.
For more than ten years, the hospital network has undergone reorganisation in order to update and/or correct the regional healthcare system. One intervention that stands out particularly is the reduction of hospital beds available per inhabitant. Furthermore, benchmarks have been set in order to monitor and guarantee the quality of healthcare services, which include hospitalisation rate, bed-occupation rate, turnover rate, turnover interval, as well as GP professionalism.
The average indicator for healthcare places the provinces of Padova and Treviso at the top of the regional ranking, with Vicenza just behind them. These three provinces have proved that they not only have good hospitals and a good healthcare system, but also provide a fairly balanced picture of all the region's social and healthcare services.
Figures for suicides and road accidents, however, highlight some distinctions between the top three provinces and the others: Padova and Treviso have lower suicide and self-harm rates than Vicenza. Padova also has the lowest rate for road accident danger, and consequently the lowest mortality rate. In comparison to other provinces, Treviso stands out for its low tumour and AIDS mortality rates, and for its low accident rate per number of inhabitants. Vicenza has the lowest number of hospital beds per inhabitant, which leads to shorter average hospital stays. Its birth rate is high and its infant mortality rate is lower than the regional average.
Belluno is bottom of the ranking and some way behind the other provinces. Although its healthcare system does not present many negative features, the figures do paint a worrying picture of its society.
Although Belluno has the highest doctor-resident ratio and its healthcare system has no particular weaknesses, it does have high tumour and suicide mortality rates, especially among young males. The province also has figures that are much higher than the regional average for avoidable mortality rates in men and women, and a high number of road accidents per 10,000 inhabitants. (Figure 15.26)
Human resources, and doctors and nurses in particular, are one of the cornerstones of any healthcare system. In addition to facilities, equipment and medication, it is essential that citizens are treated and assisted by skilled medical and healthcare employees so that if a citizen falls ill, quality of life is as good as possible.
This indicator reveals the percentage of healthcare employees in proportion to local residents.
Belluno had the highest indicator in 2003 with almost 147 healthcare employees per 10,000 inhabitants, with a 4.7% increase on 1998. Verona and Padova came next with fairly high indicator values, (129 and 119 respectively), but these had dropped on five years previously. Padova, in particular, experienced the sharpest drop of all Veneto's provinces. Rovigo and Treviso found themselves mid-ranking; Treviso, in particular, saw the sharpest rise in healthcare employees, which increased by almost 8% on 1998. Venezia and Vicenza occupied the lowest positions in the ranking and also saw their figures drop over the five-year period considered.
In addition to assessing the healthcare quality provided by doctors and nurses, the indicator can also be used to highlight differences between the provinces in terms of the availability of and spending on medical and healthcare human resources. (Figure 15.27)
Hospital care is one of the main roles of the healthcare system. A hospital network needs to be organised in order to ensure citizens have access to quality treatment. The number of hospital beds is one of the main resources for treating the sick; thus to ensure proper treatment, a good bed-inhabitant ratio must be provided. In recent years, there has been a growing need for hospital beds to treat patients with illnesses that require long-term stays in hospital.
In the five-year period starting in 1999, all of the provinces experienced an increase in the number of inhabitants per hospital bed, which obviously means fewer hospital beds per inhabitant. This fall concerned ordinary hospital beds for acute pathologies, although at regional level there was an increase in hospital beds for long-term illnesses and rehabilitation from 1999 to 2004, which meant that the needs of the elderly population especially were being met.
In 2004 Vicenza and Treviso had the worst position of all Veneto's provinces with the highest number of inhabitants per hospital bed (314.5 and 300.7 respectively); Verona and Belluno had the best results. During this five-year period, the drop in hospital beds per inhabitant mainly affected the provinces of Padova and Belluno, while Venezia and Rovigo experienced a more contained variation.
Belluno confirmed its strong position, which is due to adequate hospitals that have to deal with a lower population than other provinces. Verona has a large hospital and can thus provide its local population with more beds than the regional average. (Figure 15.28)
Hospitalisation rate is a useful indicator for revealing the demand for hospital stays by the local population. These figures only include routine stays, and thus exclude day stays.
A study of hospitalisation trends in Veneto highlights a different situation in each province, which can be partly attributed to the ways hospitals and local networks, including facilities, are organised, and partly to the different ways local health authorities deal with stay types. Verona was the province with the highest rate in 2004 with 162 hospital stays per 1,000 inhabitants, followed by Belluno and Padova with a gap of more than 20 stays. Treviso and Vicenza were the provinces with the lowest hospitalisation rate: 115.1 and 114.7 stays respectively.
All of the provinces showed a general drop in the number of stays per inhabitant since 1999; the largest drop was in Belluno and the smallest drop in Treviso. The overall drop in routine stays was partly due to an increase in the number of day hospital stays in an attempt to lighten the load of the routine-stay regime by transferring some of its activities to the day-hospital regime. A provincial comparison between routine stays and day-hospital stays illustrates the different ways healthcare systems manage illnesses, thus reflecting different policies for optimising facilities and financial resources.
(Figure 15.29) In order to round off analysis of Veneto citizens' wellbeing, we are now going to look at some indicators for the demographic and social structure of each province.
The provinces of Treviso, Vicenza and Padova hold the top positions in the regional ranking based on the average demographic and social indicator.
The strengths of these provinces lie in a population whose average age is lower than the other provinces, in high population growth and in an average family size that is higher than the regional average.
Treviso stands out from other Veneto provinces for its low number of crimes reported per 10,000 inhabitants and for the low amount of crime committed against property. The number of rapes and the marriage separation rate are also low.
Vicenza and Padova, however, stand out for their number of facilities for minors in proportion to the number of inhabitants, even though both provinces, especially Vicenza, have high rates of youth crime. Furthermore Padova has high rates of car theft and a low number of volunteers.
The province of Verona deserves special mention as its position is not so much due to its population structure, which has the lowest average age and the highest youth dependency, as to a need to keep crime and public order under control. Verona has a high number of crimes reported per 1,000 inhabitants, high rates of crime against property and a high number of car thefts in proportion to the resident population.
Belluno languishes in last place in this category and its position is mainly explained by the demographic and social issues that characterise it: its population is older, its migration balance zero, and its family size low, with an average number of members below the regional average. There are also a number of negative features on a social level: for instance, Belluno has the highest number of rapes in proportion to the resident population. (Figure 15.30)
Over the years, the population of Veneto has aged in line with national demographic trends and with those of most industrialised countries.
The social consequences of this structural change are far-reaching and require important decisions to be taken in terms of public intervention in welfare and in the economy.
The elderly dependency ratio captures an important feature of the imbalance between young and old, in particular between people who work, produce or have the potential to do so and those who are too old to do so and thus depend on the economically active population. By calculating the ratio between the people who are too old to work, namely those aged over 64 years, and the working-age population (people aged 15-64 years old) the social burden of the latter can be quantified.
This burden is particularly heavy in the provinces of Belluno and Rovigo, which have about 34 people aged at least 65 for every 100 people of working age. The province of Venezia follows them with 31.6%. The remaining provinces have a share of just under 30%.
The social burden of the elderly on the economically active population is growing in all of Veneto's provinces; over the last five years, the elderly dependency ratio has increased by 3.7 percentage points in Venezia; by 2.4 in Belluno, Padova and Vicenza; and by about 2 in Verona and Treviso.
Rovigo, however, is the province with the lowest growth in the elderly dependency ratio with 1.7 percentage points, even though both Rovigo and Belluno are demographically old populations. (Figure 15.31)
Foreign residents are part of every day life in Veneto and their number is growing, as can be seen in the larger cities, more industrialised areas, in schools and at work. People very often migrate due to widespread poverty and malaise in their home countries, which they thus leave in order to seek work and better living conditions. The increase in migration flows is followed by increasing integration and settling in an area, which becomes visible through the formation of new families or family reunification, the increase in the number of births and school enrolments, as well as the growing presence of foreign workers and entrepreneurs.
In 2006 nearly 12% of foreign residents in Italy settled in Veneto: they number more than 350,000 people and represent more than 7% of Veneto's population. There are greater concentrations in the more industrial areas in the provinces of Treviso, Vicenza and Verona. These areas alone account for 64.5% of foreign residents in Veneto. The highest growth, however, was experienced by Venezia: in five years, the province saw its number of foreign residents triple, passing from 15,625 in 2001 to almost 45,000 in 2006; next was Rovigo which although accounting for the lowest percentage of the population (4.4%) saw an increase of almost 176% in its foreign residents. In Padova, migrants accounted for 6.5% of the population, almost 11% more than the previous year. Also significant in terms of concentration of foreign residents is the area of Cadore. (Figure 15.32)
Italians view crime as their second biggest fear and it is an important factor when establishing social and individual wellbeing. Crime not only causes direct damage, but also makes people feel scared and unsafe, conditioning their daily habits and lifestyles.
The number of reported crimes summarises and quantifies an area's crime levels. It provides an insight into trends and is based on crimes reported by citizens and by the police.
When we talk about crime, we mean criminal acts governed by a prison sentence, a fine or an accessory punishment. In 2005 Veneto's police reported 196,764 crimes to the judicial authorities, up 2.2% on the previous year.
The provinces of Veneto most affected were Venezia, Verona and Padova, where 4,990, 4,918 and 4,758 crimes respectively were reported per 100,000 inhabitants. However, although crime increased by 7.1% in the province of Venezia on 2004, levels in Verona and Padova remained almost unchanged: down 1.1% in Verona and up 1.8% in Padova.
On the other hand the province of Vicenza, Rovigo, Treviso and Belluno stand out for their low crime rates, which were well below the regional average of 4,169 and the national average of 4,401, even though the crime rate did increase by 18.1% in Rovigo and by 4.5% in Belluno in the space of a year.
The province of Treviso had the sharpest drop in the number of reported crimes with more than 200 fewer than 2004, down 6.2%.