Friday, July 12, 2019

A Declining Italy

For the first time in 90 years the Italian population has fallen to about 55 million, according to the national statistics agency (ISTAT). 

From 2014 to 2018, the population decreased by 677,000 people.

Two factors are behind the decline according to experts: a decrease in births, which is at an all-time low since the unification of Italy, and an increase in the emigration of young people to other European countries in search of job opportunities. According to ISTAT nearly 157,000 people left the country in 2018.

It ranks second – behind only Japan – in terms of having the greatest share of older people, with an estimated 168.7 people over 65 for every 100 young people.

Economists warn that Italy’s shrinking population could drag the country into a deep economic crisis, setting off a vicious circle: the economic crisis exacerbates the population decline, which in turn leads to more economic turmoil.

Now there is a chance to repopulate the town with migrants.

“Opening the doors to migration could be the only solution for the survival of towns at risk of extinction,” said Francesco Giavazzi, professor of economics at Bocconi University, in Milan. “If you look at the history of the US and France you will see that migration is the solution to fight the decline in population.”

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