Italy’s population drops below 59 million

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Italy’s population continued to decline in 2022, dropping below 59 million people, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said. The 59 million threshold was first exceeded in Italy in 2009, and in the following year the population reached 60.6 million for the first time in the country’s history, reports Xinhua news agency. The latest census data released on Monday showed that 58,997,201 people resided in the country as of December 31, 2022, 32,932 less than a year earlier.

The number of births broke a “negative record”, ISTAT said. The country registered 393,000 births in 2022, equaling a birth rate of 6.7 per thousand population. This was almost 7,000 below the 2021 figure and 183,000 below the 2008 figure. Last year, the country registered an increase in births. The number of babies born to non-Italian parents was 53,000 in 2022, making up 13.5 per cent of all newborns.

“The decrease in population remains contained thanks to the positive dynamics of the foreign population,” ISTAT said. The census included over 5.1 million foreign residents, with an annual increase of 111,000, or 2.2 per cent. Overall, foreign-born citizens accounted for 8.7 per cent of the total resident population. Life expectancy at birth was estimated at 80.5 years for males and 84.8 years for females in 2022. Some 61.3 per cent of the country’s 7,904 municipalities lost population compared to 2021, ISTAT said.

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A slight increase in population, however, was registered in 2,936 larger municipalities, which all together were home to over 28.3 million people.