Living in Prato :
Education and welfare

Plural cultures

The constant commitment to the promotion of citizenship rights

Prato is a city where many cultures live together and which, albeit with contradictions and problems, integrates knowledge and lifestyles, forming a melting pot that has always characterized it.
The strong migration flows are closely tired with the entrepreneurial vocation of Prato that in 60 years has doubled its population, from 98,000 at the end of the 50s to almost 200,000 today.
Coming mostly from neighboring towns until the early '60s, then from the regions of Southern Italy, especially Puglia and Basilicata, and finally since the early 80's from more than 124 countries in the world, men and women have settled in Prato, a city that has been able to welcome them among thousand contradictions, evolving its own identity and becoming an integration place.
Today, only one out of two was born in Prato, 33,000 come from other countries with a predominance of citizens of Chinese nationality, almost 19,000 residents registered at the registry office. The presence of a large Chinese community, settled mainly in the so called Macrolotto Zero area but now spread in other areas of the city, is a strong characteristic element of the city, not only for the relevance of the presence, almost one citizen in ten is of Chinese nationality, but also for the peculiarity of the settlement.

The biggest part of Chinese citizens work as manufacturing entrepreneurs, especially in dressmaking and ready to wear industry, but also in more traditional sectors of the textile industry; the typical business activities of other cities are widespread but mostly to their community service.
The Chinese entrepreneurship has created development and employment but with a lot of gray areas; the frequent lack of respect for the rules not only is unfair competition but becomes even tragedy when the basic security elements at work are missing.

For this reason the Tuscany Region has promoted the safe work plan, with the aim to control and regularize every not regulated enterprise in three years. Since the 1st of September 2014 more than 3,000 companies were checked, detecting violations in 76.8% of the cases. Many firms have been closed, but the majority began retrofitting and paid penalties, probably triggering a virtuous start toward a rise in the quality of products, work and life of the workers.
The plurality of ethnic groups and cultures that animates the areas of the city with the highest migratory presence is also in Prato schools with much higher percentages than the national average; in some institutes the presence of pupils with a migrant background is over 70% and requires to local authorities and educational institutions an highly articulated and constant action to ensure a high quality of the schooling and combat the high drop-out and school failure rate.