"We are at the threshold where people who die are not being replaced by newborns. That means we are a dying country."
Italy is dying and newborns are not replacing those who die, according to the country's health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, who made her comments after the news that the country's birth rate - 8.4 per 1,000 people - is its lowest since the foundation of the modern state in 1861.
Nor is Italy the only country facing a population in decline. Europe's population is overall increasing by a very small amount. The outlook for the rest of Europe and the West is not that different, especially in eastern Europe.
EU report shows how immigration and a baby boom mean former mills town in northern England are holding off Britain’s slide towards an ageing population. New figures have singled out Blackburn in Lancashire as effectively the youngest town in Europe. Almost one in four residents of the borough of Blackburn and Darwen are under the age of 15. It illustrates vividly how the effects of long-term immigration and a recent baby boom as second generation immigrants start families of their own, have transformed some of the former industrial centres of northern England. It also shows how the recent spike in birth rates in the UK, has helped slow the process of population ageing. Kate Hollern, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We see this a tremendous asset.”
Europe's hope to see continued positive population growth remains with an inflow of migrants, often younger and in search of a better life for themselves and their family.