Italy’s population still getting older despite increase in foreign residents

Italy's population still getting older despite increase in foreign residents
Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
Italy's population has barely risen since 2011, new figures show - and the slight increase is only due to immigration.
The total number of foreign nationals living in Italy increased by 43,480 in 2019 to pass the five-million mark, at 5,039,637, according to new census data from Italian statistics agency Istat.
 
It said the number of foreign nationals residing in Italy had increased by 3.7 million between 2001 and 2019.
 
 
Meanwhile, the trend of Italy's population declining and becoming steadily older year on year continues, according to the figures released on Tuesday.
 
At the end of 2019, Italy had 59,641,488 residents – some 175,000 fewer than the previous year, or a reduction of 0.3 percent, Istat said.
 
This represents just 207,000 more than in 2011, the year of the last census – and that is the result only of immigration, it said.
 
“The very slight increase in the population since 2011 can be exclusively attributed to the foreign component,” the report said.
 
Between 2011 and 2019, the number of Italian nationals fell by almost 800,000, or 1.5 percent, despite more than one million foreigners taking
Italian citizenship.
 
The figures also confirm the trend in Italy towards an ageing population — the average age has gone up by two years, to 45, since 2011.
 
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The southern regions, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, have the youngest populations, but have also seen their populations shrink the most.
 
Again migrants buck the national trend – the average age of foreign nationals resident in Italy last year was 34.7 years, compared with 46.2 for
Italian nationals.
 
If the long-term trend continues, Italy's population is expected to drop by seven million over the next 50 years, according to Istat.
 
These figures are based on data from 2019, meaning they do not take the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic into account.
 
 

Italy last year already recorded its lowest number of births for 150 years, at 420,000.
 
This could fall to 408,000 in 2020 and 393,000 in 2021, Istat said, with the country's economic problems worsened by the pandemic.


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