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Italy’s demographic stagnation is reaching a tipping point, as the number of babies born in Italy in 2018 hit a new record low, national statistics office ISTAT said on Wednesday.
Births in 2018 dropped by 4% (18,000) to 440,000, which is the lowest level since the unification of Italy in 1861. Deaths totalled 633,000 and the population fell by 124,000 to 60.36 million. Bolzano, on the border with Austria, was the only Italian province in which births exceeded deaths last year.
2018 was Italy’s fourth consecutive year of demographic decline, having lost 400,000 residents since 2014. That makes Italy the only major European economy with a shrinking population over the five years to 2020, according to the UN. Italy now has the second oldest population after Japan.
Meanwhile, Italian immigration is also surging. In 2019, 1.9% of Italians left, which corresponds to 157,000 people. Most of those leaving were aged under 35. At the same time, immigration to Italy decreased by 3.2% or 11,000 people. Italy’s immigrant population now accounts for 8.7% of the resident population.