According to advance data on the demographic balance for the resident population, 546,607 births were registered in 2011, around 15,000 fewer than in 2010. The figure confirms the downward trend which began in 2009. In three years the number of births has fallen by 30,000.
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 40,000 fewer births than in 2008. The number of babies born to at least one foreign parent continued to rise at the rate of approximately 5,000 per year until 2010. However, in 2011 this number, which had been the driver behind recovering birth rates in the 2000s, also fell, as a result of the decrease in the number of babies born to mixed couples of around 2,000.
In contrast, the number of babies born to parents both of foreign origin increased – albeit less than in previous years – to 79,000 in 2011 (14,5% of all births). Adding this number to the number of babies born to mixed-nationality couples we find that a total 106,000 babies born in 2011 had at least one foreign parent (19.4% of all births).
Considering the composition of the population of foreign mothers by citizenship, in first place we find Romanians (18,484 births in 2011), in second place Moroccans (13,340), in third place Albanians (9,916) and in fourth place Chinese mothers with 5,282 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 10.9% of the total in 2011). 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 134,000 children were born to unmarried couples in 2011, in line with the previous year. However, as a result of the sharp fall in the number of babies born to married couples, their relative weight increased from 23.6% in 2010 to 24.5% in 2011, as a national average.
The average number of children per woman is also declining, and fell to 1.39 in 2011 (1.3 children for Italian women and 2.04 for foreign women.
Italian and foreign births among the resident population in Italy. 1995-2011, absolute values