National statistics agency ISTAT warns Italy’s population will drop by five million by 2050 if the trend is not reversed. Both the Pope and President make appeals to combat the declining birth rate.
Pope Francis and Italian President Sergio Mattarella both made appeals for action to combat Italy’s declining birth rate. This on Thursday as the two-day ‘General States of Birth’ meeting got under way in Rome.
“The issue of the birthrate is a real social emergency that is not immediately perceptible like other problems that occupy the news,” the pontiff said. “Fewer children are being born and this means impoverishing everyone’s future. Italy, Europe, and the West are impoverishing their future”.
He said that many young people find it hard to realise their dream of having a family. “The beauty of a family full of children risks becoming a utopia, a dream that is difficult to realise,” the pope said.
President echoes Pope’s sentiments
President Mattarella echoed those sentiments in a message to Gianluigi De Palo, the head of the Natality Foundation and the Family Forum.
He said the phenomenon of falling birth rates was “one of the most worrying aspects of the contemporary social dynamics”. He also pointed out that Article 31 of the Italian Constitution calls for “maternity, childhood and youth” to be protected.
Furthermore, he said women too frequently have trouble obtaining equality on the labour market. Equally, they do not have the support needed to conciliate work commitments and family life. “Professional commitment and work cannot be in opposition to the choice of becoming a mother,” he said. “Policies for the family are an essential contribution to development”.
Severe population decline by 2050
ISTAT President Gian Carlo Blandiardo said Italy needs structural measures to stop the population falling by five million by 2050. As it is, the Italian population fell just under the 59 million mark at the end of 2021; after a net drop of 616,000 residents in two years.
ISTAT said if the trend continues as it is, only 52% of the population will be working age (20-66) in 2050. They will have to take care of the remaining 48% of the population: under-20s (16%) and pensioners (32%).