Italy have lost approximately five million youngsters in the last fifty years.

italian population decline
Demographic Disaster In Italy: Case Of Italian Population

The topic is no longer speculative: who will live in Italy after us? The demographic winter has begun to thaw our activities. First and foremost, the country's bank is generally closed because it no longer has enough customers. Then the school, post office, and lone gas station are gone. So farewell, family doctor, butcher, and stationer. The few young individuals that were present have long since departed. The elderly remain, but there are no longer any services available to them, and there are no longer any children around. Just one setting per buddy. Likewise at Celle di San Vito, fifty minutes from Foggia: one hundred dogs registered at the registry office out of a population of 140.

For years, we have seen our province vacant. And then the countries' final people left. Yet, no grandkids will return to their grandparents' homes. Furthermore, many of those grandkids were not born. According to Istat, there are 10 million empty residences in Italy, accounting for over one-third of the country's real estate holdings. Yet, not all of them are for vacations or are the product of construction speculation. They are vacant because no one can live in them any more.

We're like a piece of paper caught between two scissors. On the one side, there is the reduction in births, which has been accelerating since 2015. On the other hand, the senior population is rapidly growing. And the blade of demographic imbalance at the center. Plasmon, a firm founded in Milan in 1902 that provides meals for children, shares statistics from this tsunami, the most severe in Western countries, on its website. Every four minutes, a thousand children are born throughout the world: just 0.3 percent are born in Italy, while France and Germany are twice as fast with 0.6, and India and China lead the pack with 17 and 10%, respectively.
 Also for this reason there are now 58.9 million Italians: in just eight years the equivalent of a city of 1.36 million inhabitants has disappeared. Practically in Milan.

Childbirth rates have plummeted

Then there's the age disparity, which is the most difficult to address. In 2021, there were 5.4 senior persons for every youngster, up from 3.8 in 2011 and a ratio of one to one in 1951. As a result, there are 600 pensioners for every thousand employees. Yet, when today's few children reach adulthood, their contributions will no longer be sufficient to keep the social security and health-care systems afloat.

Plasmon has also uploaded a short documentary set in 2050, in addition to the statistics. It tells the narrative of Adam, the last kid born in Italy. A scurrying small body in the center of a row of empty cradles. Finally, the sorrow that communicates "Anna," Niccol Ammaniti's apocalyptic mini-series, is the same. The project's goal is to organize businesses, entrepreneurs, groups, and individuals in anticipation of the General Assembly of the Birth, which will take place in Rome on May 11 and 12. "With fewer births and hence fewer taxpayers," say the Forum of Families organizers, "it is simple to forecast the collapse of those essential foundations on which our society is built, such as the education system, public health and pensions."

There were 9,414,065 people born between 1962 and 1971, making up the group presently aged 50 to 60. Instead, the children of the decade 2012-2021 number 4,633,431. We have lost approximately five million youngsters in the last fifty years (4,780,634). A chasm in the future of Italy. During the past eight years, birth rates have been continuously declining. And, as we've seen, the pandemic has something to do with it: 485,780 children were born in 2015, the lowest number during the economic boom; 420,084 in 2019, 404,892 in 2020, and 400,249 in 2021. (against 709,035 deaths). And, for 2022, an unconfirmed forecast of roughly 390,000 babies. In 2012, there were 534,186 people, compared to 937,257 in 1962.

Too many single people in Milan

Lifestyle, a lack of protection for mothers and dads, the precariousness of job contracts, and incomes in comparison to the costs of raising a family are the elements driving Italians to this conclusion. Even Milan is not free. According to a Dossier research, 47 percent of families in the Lombard city are headed by a single individual. Elderly citizens are left alone. According to the municipal record office, there are also many singles, who have increased from 300,000 in 1999 to over 400,000 now in a city of 1.35 million people.

The decline in births is inextricably linked to the rise in deaths. A scale that, in some cities, could result in a significant reduction in population. This is the situation in Arezzo, the regional capital with a population of just under 100,000 people: the 1,755 individuals who died in 2022 were not compensated for by births, which peaked at 582 children. It is a vicious spiral that is already putting pressure on the job market. Every day, private and public enterprises struggle to locate qualified staff. Yet the issue is considerably worse in small towns, since when a firm fails, a service is discontinued, or a craftsman retires, no one comes to replace them. Apart from businesses, trades such as plumbers, bricklayers, painters, and electricians are disappearing.
So calling one today - for those who stay - can cost much more, because it has to come from far away.

Luigi Cappella, 70, is a retired physician. He does, however, continue to visit patients in the villages between Pennabilli and Casteldelci, in the Rimini hinterland. The summer entertainment capital conceals deserted valleys. However, in these areas, there is not only a population catastrophe, but also an internal exodus to coastal cities where life is less lonely. When up to two meters of snow falls in a few hours on the heights of Romagna, Doctor Cappella's automobile is found sitting along the blocked road. And to see his snowshoe footsteps leading up to the lonely settlements. Such was the case towards the end of January.

Country without doctors

"These were folks with actual health concerns," he adds, and he went to make sure everything was well. I read the press and notice how the issue of a scarcity of family doctors is addressed in a cyclical manner. It's a serious issue. Doctors, on the other hand, must be permitted to practice. To treat, visit, and prescribe medication. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case: family doctors are increasingly plagued by bureaucracy, they spend more time at the PC than visiting". "Each family doctor must be allocated an assistant, a secretary paid by the health business, who carries out the bureaucratic activity," says the volunteer doctor.

Even Salento, which even before the pandemic had lost 31,000 residents in nine years, is striving to resist by putting the notion of remnant into practice: "The freedom to migrate relates to the right to stay, forging another sense of places and of oneself. Staying - Vito Teti, full professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Calabria says in his book of the same name - implies feeling grounded and at the same time bewildered in a place to be safeguarded and at the same time radically regenerated".

Surviving in an empty world is difficult. For many years, the organisation "The Tin Box" in Botrugno, in the province of Lecce, has been educating people how to remain. They come from all across Italy to follow the itineraries that take them through Puglia, Molise, Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicily.

Mayors do everything they can to entice new inhabitants by offering incentives. Likewise in Martano, which is also in the province of Lecce. Or in adjacent Caprarica, the oil city, where buildings that are no longer occupied are being sold for one euro. The sale went well in Biccari, around 30 minutes from Foggia. Foreigners who like Mediterranean Italy have become the new proprietors. Then there are the impoverished people's houses. And those are even more difficult to find. "Let us strive to react to the fate of all the communities," Mayor Gianfilippo Mignogna remarked as he unveiled the concept in the summer of 2021.

The province of Foggia, which climbs towards the Dauni mountains, is one of the worst hit in the South. Several countries' banks have already departed. Others are facing school closings or downsizing. Carlantino, Celenza Valfortore, San Marco La Catola, and all the way down to Lucera: the geography of demographic degradation, which encompasses 31% of the province's area and 11% of all Puglia, does not exceed 80,000 residents. According to FoggiaToday, they could all sit together in the San Siro stadium.

Venice is looking for kids

The same thing happened in Abruzzo and Sardinia. But, even the North is not immune to the tragic downturn. Enrollment at the Duca d'Aosta primary school in Giudecca in Venice is jeopardized because fifteen children, the minimum number required by the government for the establishment of a class, cannot be located. The metropolitan city of Turin arranges courses for persons who wish to travel and repopulate the valleys. Three hundred people departed Piedmont, Liguria, and Lombardy this spring, owing to a ten-million-euro regional procurement for donations ranging from ten thousand to forty thousand euros.

It is certainly impossible to have five hundred thousand infants born by decree in a few months. Between family incentives for future years and emergency residency permits, the government doesn't have many options if we want to keep the winter for infants from freezing the economy as well. Even now, without the 5.2 million immigrants who regularly live and work in Italy, the population would fall below 54 million, and the GDP would lose 9% of its value. Even the estimate of half a million foreigners to be let in lawfully, leaked a few days ago by Agricultural Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, may be insufficient in the face of this epochal event.

The author Fabrizio Gatti is an Italian writer and prominent journalist.
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