What do the parties want to do about the demographic crisis

Italy is going through a demographic crisis which has not yet revealed its worst effects. The new data published by Istat are not positive and confirm the worsening trend of the imbalances of the Italian population: the number of deaths exceeds that of births. 2021 was the year with the negative record of births, a deficit that could also worsen in the future, having a devastating impact on the social stability and economy of the country. In view of the elections of 25 September 2022 it is useful to understand how the parties are dealing with the issue of birth rates and support for families to counter the demographic crisis in Italy: Today it collected all the parties’ proposals starting from their electoral programs.

The demographic winter in Italy

In Italy there are fewer and fewer births, especially compared to deaths. The demographic deficit caused by the birth rate is concrete and is inexorably leading to a decrease in the population, as has been the case for 7 years now. These are not just numbers: the consequences will affect the social and economic future of the country. The new data from Istat say that the resident population is decreasing and will go from 59.2 million on 1 January 2021 to 57.9 million of the estimated figure for 2030. In 2050, Italians could instead be 54.2 million, while in 2070 “just” 47.7 million.

The demographic crisis has concrete effects: the first issue we think about when we talk about the birth rate is that of pensions. Having fewer workers means fewer contributions which literally serve to “pay” pensions. But not only. Through the taxes that are paid to the state, services are also financed, including the basic ones of the health and education system. And the ratio between individuals of working age (15-64 years) and not (0-14 and 65 years and over) will go from about three to two in 2021 to about one to one in 2050, says Istat. The problem must be tackled urgently, also because it could take decades to reverse the aging trend of the population and its decline.

The proposals of the center-left against the demographic crisis

The center-left comes to the elections with a coalition formed by the Democratic Party, PiĆ¹ Europa and the Italian Left and Greens Alliance, but with separate election programs. In the electoral program of the Democratic Party there is an entire chapter dedicated to the theme entitled “Birth, Childhood and Adolescence” which focuses on strengthening the single family allowance and maternity and paternity leave, with a simultaneous improvement in the school offer, to starting from the offer (free and compulsory kindergarten) and from the services (total accessibility to the canteens).

More Europe divides the measures on “Parenthood” and on “Interventions in support of parenthood”, and they are:

  • Initial compulsory parental leave for both parents;
  • Pay for initial parental leave at 100 per cent of pre-birth income;
  • Possibility of optional and complementary parental leave that can be used up to 12 years of the child’s life;
  • 60 percent supplementary parental leave pay for both parents;
  • Remodeling of the Kindergarten Bonus by eliminating or reducing costs based on the ISEE;
  • Eliminate the anticipation of the fee for families;
  • Deduction of the costs incurred by families for the fees of private and equal kindergartens, taking into account the overall family income.

Sinistra Italiana and Verdi, on the other hand, insist on flattening the differences between men and women in maternity paths: a compulsory maternity leave paid at 100% for at least 2 months before + 6 from the date of birth, as well as a father’s leave that is not an alternative to that of the mother and major
duration compared to today.

Similarly, Unione Popolare aspires to the “Extension of paternity leave on the Spanish model (16 weeks, of which 6 are compulsory), maternity and parental leave, homogenization of the latter’s salary”, reads the program of the movement by Luigi De Magistris.

What the 5 Star Movement proposes

The 5 Star Movement of Giuseppe Conte has included in the electoral program some targeted economic measures regarding the demographic crisis, especially in support of women:

  • Equalization of paternity and maternity leave times;
  • Early retirement for working mothers;
  • Relief for hiring pregnant women.

The proposals in the electoral program of the 5 Star Movement on birth, motherhood and demographic crisis

The proposals of Action and Italia Viva

Action and Italia Viva, the parties led by Carlo Calenda and Matteo Renzi will present themselves on a single list in the next elections on 25 September. Regarding the demographic crisis, birth rate and motherhood, Action and Italia Viva have included various measures in their electoral program, starting with economic incentives and welfare. In particular, the proposals are addressed to families, but also to businesses, such as:

  • Post-maternity incentive for workers returning to work or starting a new job
    after having taken maternity leave, within the first year of age of
    baby. The income support paid will be equal to 30% of the monthly salary to the former
    son, with a ceiling of 5 thousand euros, 35 per cent for the second child, with a ceiling of 6,500 euros and 40 per cent from the third child, with a ceiling of 8 thousand euros and will last up to 30 months;
  • Support to businesses for maternity replacement costs;
  • Incentives for expenses aimed at training women in the period of maternity and for
    return to work after maternity leave;
  • Incentives for expenses aimed at professional retraining (reskilling) of women;
  • Expansion of the type and share of services that can be provided through welfare corporate;

In addition, Action and Italia Viva also want to strengthen paternity and maternity leave, as well as allowing forms of remote work for new parents and fully implementing the Family Act

What the center-right proposes

The center-right presents itself united in the next elections, with a coalition that brings together Brothers of Italy, Lega, Forza Italia and Noi Moderati. In the electoral program there is an internal chapter dedicated to “Support for the family and the birth rate”. The measures aimed at resolving the demographic crisis include:

  • Alignment with the European average of public spending on children and families;
  • Plan to support the birth rate, including free nurseries, company nurseries, playrooms;
  • Reduction of the VAT rate on products and services for children;
  • Increase of the single and universal allowance;
  • Progressive introduction of the family quotient;
  • Concrete support for families with dependent disabled people by increasing the essential levels of social assistance;
  • Work-family reconciliation policies for mothers and fathers;
  • Protection of the work of young mothers.

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What do the parties want to do about the demographic crisis