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There denatality in Italy it is becoming a problem and in recent years it is getting worse than in other Western countries. According to the recent Istat censuses, the Italian population is decreasing: in 1952 2337 children were born for every thousand women, in 2004 only 1,331 children, 696 of whom (52.3%) are only children. Today Italy has the lowest birth rate in Europe with 1.27 children per woman, against a European average of 1.9 children.

According to a study by the University of Trento, it is not the desire to become a mother that is lacking, but the money. In a society that is increasingly attentive to the quality of life, the fear of young couples is not being able to guarantee an adequate economic level for the family. Parenting in old age exposes you to problems of infertility and when only children arrive they are almost the norm. Certainly not an obligation like in China when it was really mandatory to have only one child from 1979 to 2013.

Italian population is aging

The demographic collapse of the Italian population is testified by the data: if in 1971 for each child there were 1.1 elderly, in 2011 the elderly had become 3.8 and in 2020 over 5. In some regions such as Liguria there are 7.6 elderly per child and also the traditionally more prolific southern regions are slowing down and are at the level of Lombardy and Lazio with about 4.9 elderly people per child.

While thelife expectancy increases exceeding 84 years for women and 80 for men, cribs are increasingly empty with a very negative balance between births and deaths. The average age of the Italian population is already over 45, the over 65s exceed 23% and in a few years they could reach a third of Italians. As society ages, the pension system will go into crisis and the new generations will retire later and with less money.

The demographic decline it can only further empty small towns while cities become more and more inhabited and expensive. The pandemic has worsened the demographic recession with over 20% of couples not having children. If the trend continues in 2050, the Italian population will drop from the current 60 to approximately 54 million people and in 2070 to 48 million inhabitants.

Social problem denatality

The nations where people live best are also the most prolific. In prosperity ranking Legatum prospery index Italy is around 30th place out of a total of 167 nations, preceded by all Western countries. The decline of births follows the economic and social one and is linked to the decline in macroeconomic indicators that measure social relations, the credibility of institutions and civil participation.

For women to choose unfortunately, between family and work it is not just a matter of greater freedom or emancipation. If motherhood is no longer considered synonymous with female fulfillment, it is also true that in the Nordic countries where the percentage of women working is high, more children are being born and society is generally richer and more evolved. The problem is that in Italy having children means having fewer opportunities at work.

According to statistics, 25% of Italian women leave the profession when their child is born. The result is that one in five women delays the moment of conception by up to 30 years, a record in all of Europe. If even Pope Francis affirmed that a society without children is “against the future”, having children also has to do with personal satisfaction and the quality of life.

How much does it cost to have a child?

Not having children it is the consequence of new lifestyles and the lack of family policies. But how much does it cost to have a child? According to a study carried out in America, an average-income family, earning between $ 60,000 and $ 100,000, spends $ 235,000 (€ 224,000) in the first 18 years of their child’s life. If the income is higher, spending can reach almost $ 390,000, but it never falls below $ 170,000.

A typical family with two parents he spends about $ 15,000 a year for each child. Household expenses take up 30% of the total cost up to the age of 18. This is followed by the care and education of the children (18%) and the food costs that take care of 16% of the family finances. If in Italy things are better for health care, in some European countries there are various economic supports for parents who do not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars even to enroll their children at university as in America.

Over the past 50 years, the spending on raising a child in any case it has grown tremendously relative to income. Until a few years ago, babysitting and health represented about 4% of the total costs of raising a child: today the figures have more than doubled. After the age of 18 things do not improve, quite the contrary. In America, those who want to attend the best universities must expect to spend another 200,000 dollars, and that’s not all.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the approximately $ 400,000 achieved so far for the child support, before seeing them enter the world of work, parents have to face other personal sacrifices in economic and professional career terms. Shall we also add a little help to buy a house? In short, it would take over a million dollars to raise a child.

Are only children an advantage?

In addition to the birth rate, there is an increase in only children to consider: an opportunity or a problem? It is impossible to generalize, but if an only child was also Leonardo da Vinci, the data show that 80% of those admitted to prestigious universities Americans has no brothers. In Italy Daniela Del Boca, who deals with political economy at the University of Turin and directs the inter-university center Child, however, has doubts about the fact that “Italian-style” only children are more successful at school.

The doubt arises from the fact that Italian children in general are among the worst students out of 56 countries in terms of language skills and mathematical skills. Similar studies conducted in China and America, however, argue that only children perform better at school. And if an OECD research has found positive repercussions also on the IQ of 15-year-olds in 57 countries, a research by the University of Essex carried out on 2,500 young Englishmen claims that only children are on average more satisfied than those with siblings.

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