ITALIANS: FEW AND FAR APART

The world is young: half of the 7.7 billion people living on our planet are under thirty and in Africa the average is under twenty. In 2050 only Africa will still see a rise in its population. Italy is old andwe are only second to Japan. We have 169 elderly people – that is over 65s- every 100 under 15s and in 2040 the ratio will be 265 to 100. Since 1964, when the baby boom peaked with 2.7 children per woman, there has been a constant decline and currently the birth rate is down to 1.34. If the decline continues at the present pace the number of Italians will be halved in a few generations. If this weren’t enough every year two hundred thousand Italians, some pensioners and some recent graduates, emigrate, which is also a great financial loss because the elderly take their pensions and the young are the best and brightest. Every researcher who leaves the country has cost their parents and the state about half a million Euros. The balance is not even redressed by the demagogically much criticized immigration: in this situation the economy is bound to stagnate and the balance between the retired and working share of the population no longer holds, leaving the public debt to rise. This is the ‘population trap’ which intersects the financial ‘black hole’. Where will population trends take us in Italy, Europe and the world? Demography and statistics make it possible to have solid forecasts. Let’s see what they are. 

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author

Antonio Golini

LUISS Rome

Antonio Golini

Golini graduated in 1960 in Statistical and Actuarial Sciences, and is the best known and authoritative Italian population expert. He is an Emeritus Professor at the La Sapienza University in Rome, where he taught Demography for over fifty years and now teaches Sustainable Development at the Luiss. He is a member of the Lincean Academy (Accademia dei Lincei) and is past president of ISTAT (the National Institute of Statistics) and of the UN Commission on Population and Development. His main research themes are population ageing, migration flows and social policies. He recently co-authored  “Italiani poca gente” (Luiss) with Marco Valerio Lo Prete.