The Italian Almanac

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old people

Italian News - November 10

Italy has the oldest population in the European Union and despite an influx of young immigrants it is getting older every year, new population data confirm. One in five Italians is now 65 or over and this section of the population outnumbers the under-14s by three to two.

According to national statistics bureau Istat, which published its annual snapshot of the country on Thursday, Italy is one of eight countries in the 25-member EU in which the population graph bulges at the top. The others are Germany, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Latvia, Slovenia and Estonia.

But Italy, with its famously low birth rate and relatively long life-expectancy, leaves the rest far behind. The aging of the population is particularly pronounced in the north and much less so in the south, reflecting the southern tendency to have more children.

Meanwhile, the overall population is rising. The number of people resident in Italy at the start of 2006 was up by about half a percent to 58.75 million. Istat noted that this increase was due to immigration and that the number of births was considerably less than the number of deaths. In 2005 the difference was 13,282.

The average Italian woman now has 1.32 children, a lower birth rate than in any of the 15 old EU members except Spain and Greece.