Crisis: Italian Citizen Birthrate Fell to Record Lows in 2020

A woman wearing a face mask pushes a baby stroller in central Rome on April 15, 2020, duri

The birthrate of Italian citizens fell to a record low in 2020, with the country recording just 1.17 births per woman, while the average for all Italian residents was just 1.24 per woman.

In total, the country saw 404,892 during the pandemic year, down 15,000 from 2019 with November and December seeing the largest drops in births at a decline of 8.3 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively, according to the Italian statistics agency Istat.

Births in Italy have decreased by nearly 30 per cent since 2008, with couples in which both partners are Italians seeing the largest decline, while the number of births with at least one foreign parent has also decreased but now make up around 21.8 per cent of all births in Italy, Il Giornale reports.

Between 1976 and 1995 Italy saw another decline in birth rates which led to an all-time low of 1.19 children per woman but had been lifted slightly, due to immigration levels of younger people from abroad but statistics show that the contribution to the birth rate from immigration has declined over time.

Some Italian politicians, such as populist League leader Matteo Salvini, have entirely rejected the idea of using immigration to solve Italy’s ageing demographic issues.

“My objective is to give economic serenity to Italians to encourage them to have children,” Salvini said in November. “I refuse to think of substituting ten million Italians with ten million migrants,” he added.

Statistics from January to September of this year have also shown that the birthrate in Italy could be declining further in 2021, with 12,500 fower births reported as the same period in 2020.

Italy is not unique in reporting a birthrate decline for the first year of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. In Spain, the birthrate declined by over five per cent in 2020, with the birth rate sitting at just 1.19 children per woman, down from 1.24 in 2019.

Like Italy, Spain has seen a decline in birth rates for decades and has not seen a replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman since 1980.

During the pandemic, Spain also saw the highest number of recorded suicides in its history since statistics began to be kept in 1906. The rate of suicide for those under the age of 15 also doubled in 2020.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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