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I often hear that at some point during the Imperial period, the composition of Rome’s legions shifted almost entirely from Italian to provincial. At what point does this demographic shift really occur? Is there any reason other than proximity to the frontier at play?

As well, if the legions are manned by non-Romans/Italians, what is it that the Roman and Italian men are doing at this point in the Imperial period? Do they mostly enter into the merchant class during this period? Perhaps they shift into primarily bureaucratic positions? I know that the Praetorian Guard is composed entirely of Italians, but other than that I have read that the composition of the legions is skewed heavily in favor of non-Italians.
Keppie's essay 'The Changing Face of the Roman Legions' (collected in Legions and Veterans, 2000) has a useful summary of evidence for declining numbers of Italians. Most of the relevant section is available here:

Keppie (scan down to section V on this page)

While suggesting caution in a wholescale application of findings from limited data, Keppie estimates that two thirds of legionaries recruited under Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula were Italian, by Claudius and Nero the figure had dropped to half, and by Hadrian's day the vast majority were recruited elsewhere; in the east, it seems that most men were local recruits from Augustus' time.

One possible reason for this seems to be that few Italian legionaries returned to Italy after discharge: they were given land on the frontiers, and their sons were born there. By the later second century, Keppie says, a centurion of the Praetorian guard could state with pride on his tombstone that he commanded 'in a praetorian cohort, not... a barbarian legion' (C. Manlius Valerianus, p.60).

This also suggests that the army in the earlier centuries acted as an engine for population change, shifting men out of Italy and settling them on the frontiers generation by generation. Presumably the resulting depopulated land was taken over by slave-farmed estates?

What the remaining Italians did, except for serving in the Rome cohorts, is unknown. But there seem to have been plenty of civilian jobs available at Pompeii, for example...
Quote:As well, if the legions are manned by non-Romans/Italians, ...

The legions were never manned by non-romans (except some special legions during the civil war). Non-romans entered the auxilia. Non-Italian does not mean Non-Roman. The roman population outside of Italy grew, while the italian population stagnated or even decreased over time.

Nathan mentioned already one reason, others were:
- Citizens of the provinces getting roman civil rights after 25 years of service in the auxilia
- Local elite of cities and tribes in the provinces(Curiales, Decuriones) getting civil rights usually pretty early and so all their desendants have been romans
- sometimes entire local cities getting civil rights
- a lot of roman colonies were founded outside of Italy, which also decreased the italian population.

And even inside Italy the main recruiting area was northern Italy since the late republic. A lot of these romans had celtic roots. The romans have been always convinced, that people from rural areas are the better soldiers. They are used to discipline and a hard life. And looking to the structure of italian agriculture, it is obvious, that you find more recruitable rural romans outside of Italy.
Just to addd to what has already been said, there were no "non-Romans" in the legions. Everybody was at least from Italian/Roman stock (all Italians got Roman citizenship after the Social Wars in the first part of the First Century BC. Those who weren't Italian by blood were at least peregrini (other people in the Empire) who received citizenship through other means, serving in the Auxiliaries being the most obvious