In 2015, 485,780 births were registered in the Resident Population Register, that is almost 17,000 fewer births than in 2014. The figures confirm the downward trend that began in recent years: the number of births decreased substantially since 2008 (-91,000 births).
The recent decline in births resulted mainly from the reduction in the number of children born to Italian parents that fell for the first time below 400,000 in 2014. The figure shows that in 2015 there were 385,014 births to Italian partners, 95 thousand fewer in seven years. The decrease can be attributed both to the fall in the number of women in childbearing years and to their low level of fertility. The reduction in the number of marriages (-52 thousand from 2008 to 2015) resulted in a negative impact on births. In 2015 births to married parents had fallen further to 346,169, appoximately 120 thousand fewer in seven years.
Conversely, births outside marriage increased sligtly and reached 140 thousand births in 2015. As a result the relative weight of births to unmarried couples increased and reached 28.7% of all births. In particular, in the Centre-North area more than 31% of babies were born to unmarried couples.
Compared to the previous year, the number of births to at least one foreign parent showed a slight decrease. In 2015 they were 101 thousand, accounting for 20.7% of all births at national level. Births to at least one foreign parent were 29% in the North area compared to 8% only in the South and Islands areas.
A further decrease was observed both in the number of births to foreign parents (which totalled 72,096, 3 thousand fewer than in 2014) and in their proportion on all births (14.8% in 2015).
19,123 births to foreign mothers were from Romania, followed by Morocco (11,888), Albania (9,257) and China (4,070). Their sum represented 47.0% of all births to foreign mothers.
In 2015, nearly 8.3% of all live births were to mothers aged 40 and over, while 10.3% of births had mothers aged under 25. Childbearing postponement was more pronounced among Italian mothers: the proportion of births to Italian women aged 40 and over exceeded the one of those aged under 25 (9.3 vs. 8.2%).
Fertility decline, which started in 2010, was still underway. In 2015 the average number of children per woman fell to 1.35, compared with 1.46 in 2010. Total fertility rate was 1.27 children for Italian women and 1.94 for foreign one. The latter figure represented a significant decrease compared to seven year before, when the average number of children for foreign women was 2.65.
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Infograph: Birth and fertility in Italy in 2015
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