Italy faces its most acute demographic crisis in its history

A picture made available on 16 February 2019 shows papers advertising property for sale in Locana, Italy, 10 February 2019 (issued 16 February 2019). According to reports, the northern Italian town of Locana is paying families who have at least one child a bonus of 10,000 US dollars over three years if they move there. The bonus is aimed at tackling the death of the town which currently has a population of 1,500 inhabitans and 10 births compared to 40 deaths per year. Candidates for the residency should make at least 8,000 USD per year but do not need to be Italian residents. EPA-EFE/Alessandro Di Marco

Italy faces its most acute demographic crisis in its history


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Italy’s demographic stagnation is reaching a tipping point, as the number of babies born in Italy in 2018 hit a new record low, national statistics office ISTAT said on Wednesday.

Births in 2018 dropped by 4% (18,000) to 440,000, which is the lowest level since the unification of Italy in 1861. Deaths totalled 633,000 and the population fell by 124,000 to 60.36 million. Bolzano, on the border with Austria, was the only Italian province in which births exceeded deaths last year.

2018 was Italy’s fourth consecutive year of demographic decline, having lost 400,000 residents since 2014. That makes Italy the only major European economy with a shrinking population over the five years to 2020, according to the UN. Italy now has the second oldest population after Japan.

Meanwhile, Italian immigration is also surging. In 2019, 1.9% of Italians left, which corresponds to 157,000 people. Most of those leaving were aged under 35. At the same time, immigration to Italy decreased by 3.2% or 11,000 people. Italy’s immigrant population now accounts for 8.7% of the resident population.

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