Italy Births Fall To 160-Year Low


The number of births in Italy has fallen to a 160-year low in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. If this demographic trend continues, Italy’s population will have decreased by 12 million by 2050.

The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated Italy’s demographic decline, which falls to a new low in 2020. As a result of the decline in birth rates, the population of Italy is expected to decline by 12 million people over the next 50 years.

To nobody’s surprise, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the demographic issue that has plagued Italy for many years. The results of the most recent census conducted by the Italian Institute of Statistics indicate that an aging population is the cause of the problem.

Indeed, the number of births in Italy last year dropped to its lowest level since the country’s unification in 1861, according to the national statistics office, which claimed the total fell for the 12th straight year.

According to the ISTAT statistics agency, there were 404,892 births last year, a decrease of 15,192 from the previous year.

To put things in perspective, in 2020, there were 5.1 senior individuals (over 65 years old) for every youngster (under the age of six). In 2011, the ratio was 1 to 3.8 versus 1.01 in 1971.

According to ISTAT, though, the record for 2020 is set to deteriorate much worse. Forecasts indicate that only 385,000 babies will be born in 2021 against 405,000 in 2020.

The main regions in the country experience vastly different birth rates. Liguria prides itself on being the “oldest” area in Italy, with one youngster for every almost eight senior residents. Campania and Trentino-Alto Adige, on the other hand, pride themselves on being the “youngest” regions, with a ratio of 1 child to 3.8 elderly people. Lombardy, on the other hand, is becoming closer to the national average, with approximately one kid for every five senior individuals.

Particularly in Italy, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a tremendous influence on the number of deaths recorded. With 740.000 fatalities in 2020, the number of deaths surpassed the previous record of 740,000 established in 1918 by the Spanish flu, which killed almost a million lives.

The year 2021 does not seem to be much better: the number of fatalities is equivalent to that of 2020 during the first nine months of the year, but the data begin to fall in the latter quarter of the year as a consequence of the advanced vaccination program.

Women continue to outnumber males in the population as a result of the elderly population. They account for 51.3 percent of the total population of the country. And with good reason: their life expectancy is 4 years more than that of males, at 84 years vs 80 years, respectively.

The future does not look good either for Italy’s population. For example, if the demographic catastrophe continues on its previous and current trajectory, by 2050, the average age of the population would be 50.7 years (as opposed to 45.7 years in 2020), and by 2048, the total number of deaths might be double the total number of births (784,000 against 391,000).

In addition, the Italian population will decline from 59.6 million in 2020 to 47.6 million in 2070, a reduction of 12 million people in less than 50 years, according to the projections.

What is hoped is that the new family policy, which includes a universal income program, would assist in slowing down or even reversing the trend and reviving the birth rate in the future. Otherwise, Italy may surpass Japan and acquire the title of the world’s oldest nation from the latter. The peninsula is now ranked second.

Betsy Wilson

A true science nerd and pediatric nursing specialist, Betsy is passionate about all things pregnancy and baby-related. She contributes her expertise to the Scientific Origin.