(Chris Tomlinson, Outline – December 31, 2019) According to new figures, Italy has seen a historically low birthrate in 2018, as the number of foreigners in the country has increased to nearly 9 per cent of the total population.
The new statistics, released by the Italian statistics agency Istat, reveal that the number of live births in 2018 totalled just 439,747, an 18,404 drop from the previous year and numbers that amount to the lowest birth rate since the unification of the country in the 1800s, Il Giornale reports.
As couples are having fewer children — just 1.32 per woman according to Istat — households are also becoming smaller across the country, with nearly one-third of all households being single individuals and just one-third being families with children.
The population of Italy is also becoming older on average, as life expectancy has increased to 80.8 years for men and 85.2 years for women.
The foreign population of Italy, however, has seen substantial growth in recent years and now accounts for 5,255,503 people — or 8.7 per cent of the total population of the country — increasing by 2.2 per cent in 2018. Net migration, however, declined slightly, from 188,330 in 2017 to 175,364 in 2018.
Italy has seen a dramatic reduction in illegal migrant since 2019, largely thanks to the closed ports policies of former Interior Minister and Lega leader Matteo Salvini — but has seen a recent increase in landings since he and the League left the coalition government with the Five Star Movement (M5S) and were replaced by the left-establishment Democratic Party (PD).
The low birthrates in Italy, combined with mass migration, have fueled speculation on the future of Italy’s demographics.
The FareFuturo foundation, an Italian think tank, predicted that due to a combination of factors, such as the mostly Muslim-origin of many new migrants and the decline of Christian families, as many as half of all Italians could be Muslims by the year 2100.
In 2018, Istat predicted that by 20165, the Italian population was expected to drop by as much as ten per cent due to the low birthrate.