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Press release

Birth and fertility of the resident population

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According to data on the demographic balance for the resident population, 534,186 births were registered in 2012, over 12,000 fewer than in 2011. The figure confirms the downward trend which began in 2009: over 42,000 births less in four years.

The recent decline in births can mainly be attributed to the decrease in the number of children born to parents who are both Italian, almost 54,000 fewer births than in 2008.

In contrast, the number of babies born to both foreign parents increased – albeit less than in previous years (2,800 births more in the last three years) and total to few less than 80,000 in 2012 (15.0% of all births). Adding this number to the number of babies born to mixed-nationality couples we find that more than 107,000 babies born in 2012 had at least one foreign parent (20.1% of all births).

Considering the composition of the population of foreign mothers by citizenship, at the top of the ranking we find Romanians (19,415 births in 2012), in second place Moroccans (12,829), in third place Albanians (9,843) and in fourth place Chinese mothers with 5,593 births.

Nearly 7% of babies were born to mothers aged at least 40, while the percentage born to mothers aged under 25 continued to decline (to 11.1% of the total in 2012). This postponement of motherhood is even more marked among Italian mothers: the percentages of children born to mothers aged under 25 and those aged over 40 have now reached parity (8% for both groups).

Around 132,000 children were born to unmarried couples in 2012, slightly decreasing compared to the previous year. However, as a result of the sharp fall in the number of babies born to married couples, their relative weight increased again: one baby out of four  was born within an unmarried couple. In the Centre-North area, in particular, the number of births to unmarried couples was 30% of the total and this percentage was exceeded in many areas (44% in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, 36 % in Valle d’Aosta, 33% in Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, 31% in Toscana and Piemonte).

The average number of children per woman is also slightly declining and fell to 1.42 in 2012 (1.29 children for Italian women and 2.37 for foreign women).

Note. Today, 4th July 2014, an emended English version of the report has been uploaded. In the previous version table 1 contained  some not updated data.

For information
Statistics on demographic structure and dynamics

Giancarlo Gualtieri
ph. +39 06 4673.7356

Reference period: Years 2010-2012

Date of Issue: 27 November 2013