The rate of marriage in Italy, especially among young people, has dropped to a level of 3.3 per thousand of population, one of the lowest in Europe, according to Reuters.
Reluctance to marry is being blamed on Italy’s struggling economy, which has also driven emigration to levels double the pre-crisis level in 2008.
Italy has one of the oldest populations in Europe, with one-third of the 60.6m population over 55 and a median age of 44.5 years.
Italy also has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, with just 1.39 babies per woman, down from 1.45 in 2008, according to official government statistics quoted by Reuters: “Fewer than 514,000 babies were born in Italy in 2013, the smallest number since it began collecting data in the 1920s.”
According to the Local, the statistics showed that the number of weddings in Italy last year numbered fewer than 200,000, the lowest level since statistics began.
Weddings were most popular in the southern regions of Calabria, Campania and Sicily, with 4.1 marriages taking place.
In the central Emilia-Romagna, one of the wealthiest regions in Europe with a capital city of Bologna, rated by many Italians as the most desirable city in which to live, the figure was lowest, at just 2.7 per thousand.
While most weddings in Italy are still religious services, the statistics show that between 2008 and 2013 the share of civil ceremonies went up from 36.8 per cent to 43.1 per cent.