A total of 31 percent of Italian families cannot afford to pay for their children's university studies, and must take out loans or have their offspring seek jobs to help fund tuition and living costs, said the report by charity Save the Children.
It said Italy was jeopardizing the future of its youth by spending just 1.1 percent of its economic output on children and families, putting the country in 18th place out of Europe's 27 nations.
Almost 29 percent of children during the crucial early years from 0-6 are living in poverty and 23.7 percent endure hardship in terms of nutrition, clothing, holidays, sport, books, equipment and school charges, according to the study.
Save the Children launched the report to coincide with its "Childhood Alert" campaign that runs till June 5. The campaign aims to galvanize public support for urgent government measures to improve the outlook for Italy's youngsters.