With a resident population of 5,013,081 inhabitants (on 31.12.2004) Sicily is among the most densely-populated Regions in Italy, whilst its surface area of 25,7100 sq km makes it the largest island in the Mediterranean. With the addition of the minor islands of Ustica, Pantelleria and the Eolian, Egadi and Pelagi groups of islands, Sicily is also the largest Italian Region.
65% of the Regional Communes lie in hilly districts, which are the main feature of the island, whilst about 25% of the Communes lie in mountainous areas and the remaining 10% are situated on the plains.
The mostly densely-populated areas are in the Provinces of Palermo, Catania and Messina, whilst there are several relatively scarcely-populated areas in the interior.
According to the results of the 8° Census of Industry and Services, 21.5% of the 263,998 production units of business operating (excluding institutions) belong to the industry sector (excluding construction), 39.2% to commerce and 38.4 to other services. Although the phenomenon can not be traced to a single root, hidden economy exists in diverse forms, which somehow reciprocate the lack of homogeneity in the local labour markets. There is a lack of business competitiveness, low levels of productivity (when compared to northern enterprises) from local small businesses.
Global Growth Network Essential