Istat, birth alarm: in 20 years only one in 4 families will have children

from Alessandra Arachi

In 2045 the overtaking of families without children. Italy is the oldest country in the world after Japan. The sociologist Barbagli: “There will be many lonely and desperate elderly”

It is said: fewer children are born in Italy. And it is a worrying fact. But it becomes dramatic if we look forward, not too far, to 2045: this will be the year in which the number of childless couples could exceed that of couples with children. It is a forecast drawn up by Istat, in the periodic report on demographics.
Couples with children, which today represent about a third of total families (32.5 percent), could represent less than a quarter (24.1 percent) in 2041. Between 2021 and 2041 their consistency would decrease by 23 percent, from 8.2 to 6.3 million. Childless couples would rise to 5.7 million from 5 million. And so as we progress we arrive at overtaking in just over 20 years.

The population

An alarming fact. Which adds up to the fact that in fifty years we will be 11.5 million fewer. In absolute numbers: as of January 1, 2021, we were 59.2 million. As of January 1, 2070, we will drop to 47.7 million. With a regression of about three million every ten years.
“The data is alarming not only for the number, but for the composition by age group of those 11.5 million people who will make society increasingly older,” says Marzio Barbagli, sociologist, professor emeritus of the University of Bologna.
Again: in 2049 deaths will double births. That is, there will be 788,000 deaths and 390,000 births. Istat explains to us: “For about fifteen years Italy has been facing a negative natural turnover, at the basis of the reduction of the population, despite the partial counterpart of positive migratory dynamics with foreign countries”.

Birth rate

That is: not even immigrants are able to stem this demographic haemorrhage. Just look at how many children are brought into the world: in Europe we are the country with the lowest birth rate, just under 1.2 children per woman. “Ten years ago Germany was under us,” says Marco Marsili, Istat research manager. And he adds: «Then Germany has implemented policies to support births, leave, economic support, implementation of childcare services. And now they have reached the 1.5 birth rate ”.
The birth rate brings with it all the consequent problems. Like that of work and pensions. Today the ratio between individuals of working age (between 15 and 64 years) and those who are not (between 0 and 14 and over 65) is three to two. In 2050 the same ratio will become one to one. We have the lowest birth rate in Europe and we are the oldest country in the world, second only to Japan.

Lonely elderly

And here’s another alarmist prediction: in 20 years there will be more than 10 million people living alone. And the problem will certainly not be young people or young people. “They will mostly be old, lonely and desperate,” Barbagli analyzes. In fact, those who live alone, in 60 percent of cases, will be over 65 years old. And the majority will be women.
Barbagli says: “Fortunately, in Italy there is a family welfare that works very well, a very different model from that of Northern Europe, Great Britain and the USA. But we cannot rely on this, we need adequate policies, strategies. But it seems to me that the politicians don’t want to deal with this ». Barbagli is sharp: «In this electoral campaign I have not heard anyone who dealt with this problem of the birth rate. Maybe a few lines on some talk show ».
Scrolling through the pages of the report you can see how the problem of the collapse of the birth rate is widespread everywhere. Within ten years, four out of five municipalities are expected to decline in population, a figure that rises to nine out of ten in the case of municipalities in rural areas.
Finally, something that seems positive: in 2041 we will have one million more families. From 25.3 million in 2021 it would reach 26.3 million. But they will be smaller and smaller families, whose average number of members could drop from 2.3 people in 2021 to 2.1 in 2041.

September 22, 2022 (change September 22, 2022 | 23:27)

Istat, birth alarm: in 20 years only one in 4 families will have children