Italy is getting older

Birth rate is falling

Birth rate is falling Photo: Flickr CC / Giuseppe Gulluni

In Italy, young workers are becoming a rarity. According to ISTAT data, those employed between the ages of 15 and 34 have fallen by 8 per cent; workers in the 35-49 age group dropped by 15 per cent, while those in the 50-64 age group increased by 40 per cent and workers over 65 years of age grew by nearly 70 per cent. Italy has the added problem of a falling birthrate and therefore a shrinking population.

If nothing changes, by 2080 the population will fall to 45 million: 13 million fewer people than in 2023 and Italy will become a country for old people: for every child under 15 there will be 3 people over 65. In a little less than 60 years Italy could be in terminal decline.

The roots of Italy’s demographic crisis are not recent: back in 1977 the fertility rate dropped below 2 children, the minimum threshold of generational turnover (when 2 parents die, the natural balance is compensated by their descendants). The first negative natural balance, the year in which more people died than were born, was in 1993. In the meantime, the average life span has lengthened from 70 in 1963 to 83 in 2023.

Fewer children are being born. Economic booms caused birth rates to soar (the baby boom generation, born between 1946 and 1964, is the largest example), and economic downturns (the economic crises of 2008 and 2011) slow them down. Italy in 2024 needs to look to its younger generation for the future prosperity of the country.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.