Residents buy vegetables and fruits in a supermarket in Rome, Italy, on July,8,2014. According to the data released on Tuesday by Italian National Bureau, the average monthly household spending of Italian families was 2359 euros in 2013, about 2.5% lower than in 2012, hitting a new low record in a decade. (Xinhua/Xu Nizhi)
ROME, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Average monthly expense of Italian households fell to the lowest level since 2004 last year, showing the country was still struggling with its longest postwar recession, national statistics institute Istat said on Tuesday.
In 2013 Italian families spent 2,359 euros a month, down 2.5 percent over the previous year and fell from 2,381 euros in 2004, according to the Rome-based agency.
Also in 2013, around half of households spent less than 1,989 euros per month, a 4.3 percent drop over 2012, when they spent 2,078 euros per month.
Working class families and couples with two children reduced monthly expenses the most, Istat found, noting that 65 percent of households cut down on food quantity and quality, up from 62.3 percent in 2012.
Italy's national pension agency INPS said in its 2013 report on Tuesday that around 6.8 million retirees take pensions of less than 1,000 euros a month and 2 million among them live on less than 500 euros.
The Italian economy, the euro zone's third largest, is struggling to emerge from its worst recession in 40 years, though it has begun to show slight signs of recovery.
In March, Italy received a warning from the European Central Bank (ECB) over the lack of results in reducing its budget deficit, which is not allowed for member states of the European Union (EU) to surpass 3 percent.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who last week kicked off Italy's six-month presidency of the EU, has confirmed his determination to carry out a "deep overhaul" of Italy, stressing however that "Europe needs both stability and growth, and if one is missing the other cannot exist."