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Demographic indicators measure the evolution and structure of the population. The demographic changes that have taken place in Italy in recent years have highlighted significant phenomena: the decrease in fertility, the increase in the average life expectancy and the ageing trend of the population.
In January 1st 2018, the resident population in Italy amounted to 60,483,973 individuals; the decrease that had already been observed in the previous years continued. The decline of people enrolled in the population register was largely due to the natural dynamics which, compared to the previous year, showed a decrease of 0.2%. The demographic decline was mainly attributable to the resident population with Italian citizenship. The natural growth rate recorded a further negative peak, reaching -3.2 per thousand. With regard to migration dynamics, the foreign net migration was slightly lower than in the previous year
In 2018, women residing in Italy had an average of 1.29 children (1.32 in 2017). The decrease since 2010, when the relative maximum of 1.46 children per woman had been recorded, continued. Women have postponed the reproductive experience towards higher and higher ages: the mean age at childbearing reached 32 years.
In 2018, the life expectancy at birth of the Italian resident population was 80.9 years for men and 85.2 for women. The indicator, for both genders, reported a slight increase compared to the previous year.
After the decline recorded in 2017, in 2018 there was an increase in the number of marriages (195,778), about 4,500 more than the previous year (+2.3%). The nuptiality rate remained unchanged at a national level (3.2 marriages per thousand inhabitants) in almost all the geographical areas, with the exception of the South and Islands, which passed from 3.7 to 3.9 per thousand inhabitants.
In 2018, there were 98,925 separations and 88,458 divorces. The number of separations remained unchanged compared to the previous year, while the number of divorces is in the process of normalisation (about -3% in relation to the absolute values and to the rate per
10,000 inhabitants). In fact, since 2015 there had been a substantial growth following the entry into force, in May, of the reform law that shortened the time of the procedure.
The ageing index continues to grow, reaching 173.1 elderly people for every hundred young people in January 1st 2019, observing a new national record and an increase compared to the previous year of over 4 percentage points. Also the dependency ratio recorded a slight increase compared to the previous year, resulting in 56.3 people of non-working age for every hundred of working age; therefore, the presence of an imbalance between generations was confirmed.
In 2018, more than a third of the population resides in three regions: Lombardia, Lazio and Campania. The South and Islands of Italy is the most populated area of the country, even though it continues to lose more population than the Centre-North. Only Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna and the provinces of Bolzano/Bozen and Trento showed population increases. The regions experiencing a major decrease, in percentage terms, were Molise and Basilicata.
The migratory balances internal and for abroad were positive for the Centre-North where the incoming population, both from the national territory and from across the border, exceeded the outgoing one with values that were higher than in 2017. In the South and Islands of Italy the variation was negative for the internal movement (-3.5 per thousand), but it was positive for the foreign movement (+2.0 per thousand).
In 2018, the North of Italy had the highest fertility levels (1.32 in the North-West and 1.36 in the North-East), especially in the provinces of Bolzano/Bozen and Trento (respectively 1.72 and 1.45), in Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aosta (1.38) and in Lombardia (1.35).
In 2018, in the Centre and in the South of Italy, fertility levels were close to those of 2017 and slightly decreasing: in the South and Islands the value was 1.26 (1.29 in 2017), while in the Centre it fell from 1.27 to 1.23. Sardegna had the lowest fertility rate (1.02), which was still decreasing compared to 2017 (1.06).
In 2018, the minimum life expectancy was in Campania, with 83.7 years for women and 79.3 years for men; however, the minimum value for men was in Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste (79.1 years). In the Centre-North there were values above the national average, with the record of the province of Trento for both women (86.2) and men (82.0).
In 2018, the nuptiality rate grew in almost all regions; only Liguria (3.2 per thousand), Toscana (3.1) and Umbria (2.9) remained stable, while Lazio recorded a slight decrease (from 3.0 to 2.9 per thousand).
With regard to separations, there was a convergence between the various areas of the country, while the North-South gap concerning divorces remained relevant. In 2018, the separation rate per 10,000 inhabitants, equal to 16.4 nationally, reached the peak in Liguria with 19.3 and the minimum in the province of Bolzano/Bozen with 12.0. In the divorce rate per 10,000 inhabitants, against a national average value of 14.6, Liguria (20.2) was at the top of the ranking and Basilicata (9.8), Calabria (10.4) and Molise (10.6) were at the bottom.
In January 1st 2019, the lowest value of the ageing index was confirmed in the South and Islands (158.0 elderly people per hundred young people), even though it was the geographical area with the greatest increase between 2018 and 2019 (+5.2 percentage points). At a regional level, Liguria reported the highest value of the index (255.8), opposed to Campania which had the lowest value (129.8). In Sardegna the index increased by almost 10 percentage points between 2018 and 2019.
In January 1st 2019, the highest levels of the dependency ratio were recorded in the North-West (58.8 people of non-working age per hundred of working age), with Liguria on the top ranking (65.6); overall, the value of the Centre-North (58.1) was higher than the national average. Lower values were recorded in the South and Islands of Italy (53.0) with the lowest value in Campania (49.9).
In January 1st 2018, with over 12% of the 512 million inhabitants of the European Union, Italy was confirmed as the fourth most important country in terms of population after Germany (83 million), France (67 million) and the United Kingdom (66 million). The natural increase rate, however, placed Italy (-3.2 per thousand inhabitants) in the twenty-second place in the decreasing ranking, well below the EU average (-0.7). Italy was also at the bottom of the ranking with regard to the total net migration rate (1.1 per thousand inhabitants compared to an EU average of 2.8).
In 2017, the last year available for a comparison with EU members, Italy, with a total fertility rate of 1.32 children per woman, like Cyprus, was among the countries with the lowest fertility, preceded only by Malta (1.26) and Spain (1.31). Moreover, with women's mean age at childbearing of 31.9 years, Italy, like Luxembourg, was one of the countries with the most postponed reproductive calendar; higher levels were found only in Ireland and Spain (both with an average age at birth of 32.1).
In 2017, life expectancy in the EU was 83.5 years for women and 78.3 years for men. Italy was among the countries with the highest values. The indicator, for both genders, had lower values in Eastern European countries, with a minimum value for women in Bulgaria (78.4 years) and for men in Latvia (69.8 years). The maximum value for women was in Spain (86.1 years) and for men in Sweden (80.8 years).
In 2017, the nuptiality rate in Italy was equal to 3.2 marriages per thousand inhabitants; along with Luxembourg, Italy was in the penultimate place in the EU ranking, followed only by Slovenia (3.1 marriages per thousand inhabitants).
Italy's divorce rate ranked fourth from bottom among the EU countries in top-down ranking, place shared with Croatia and Bulgaria (1.5 per thousand inhabitants); it was followed only by Slovenia (1.2), Ireland and Malta (0.7). On the other hand, at the top of the ranking there were the Baltic countries (in particular Latvia with 3.1 and Lithuania with 3.0) and those of Northern Europe which showed values of the indicator well above the EU average (1.9).
In January 1st 2018, Italy confirmed the first place in the decreasing ranking of the ageing index (173.1 elderly for every hundred young people), while Germany (158.5) after a slight decrease, reported a substantial stability between 2017 and 2018. Ireland, instead, confirmed itself as the European country with the lowest value (66.4). Also for the dependency ratio, which recorded its maximum value in France (60.7), Italy ranked among the countries with a high value (56.1). Luxembourg was at the bottom of the ranking (43.8).