Italian births drop to lowest level since country’s unification

Amy Kazmin and Chris Giles:

“It’s a demographic crisis — we are going to lose a lot of people in the future,” Testa said, adding that the forecast assumed a recovery in fertility rates to 1.5 children per woman. “It’s a pretty rapid change.”

If the fertility rate failed to rebound and instead stayed at current low rates, the decline in the population size would be even more drastic, she warned.

Prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s government has repeatedly expressed concern about the low number of births in Italy, and the implications for the country’s prospects.

Malcolm and Simone Collins:

People underestimate how quickly this effect will be felt. South Korea currently has a total fertility rate of 0.81. For every 100 South Korean great-grandparents, there will be 6.6 great-grandkids. At the 0.7 fertility rate predicted in South Korea by 2024, that amounts to 4.3 great-grandkids. It’s as if we knew a disease would kill 94 percent of South Koreans in the next century.

People underrate how quickly this can become serious, once it is felt. As recently as the mid-1990s, South Korea had a birth rate of 1.7, which is close to the U.S.’s present rate. A fertility collapse takes around thirty years before it causes a population collapse, and once that happens, the collapse is inevitable. If 70 percent of a nation’s population is over age 50, and even though many of those people have almost half their lifespan left they are not going to be having any more kids.

Across the world, we see a similar phenomenon: countries explode in population as access to modern wealth expands, then drop off and begin to collapse as incomes rise and lifestyle modernization sets in. While many countries have yet to reach this crescendo, most are well on their way. But why is this happening?

Consider your personal social group. If you are like most in the developed world, around a third of your peers will have no kids and about a third will have two kids. If that group is to hover just above the repopulation rate, the final third must have over four kids each.

Italian abortion data