More than a third of the population of Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest country, will be over 65 by 2050, up from about a quarter last year, according to data released earlier this week by national statistics bureau ISTAT.
Population decline and aging pose major challenges for Italy, leading to an inevitable drop in economic productivity and higher social welfare costs, in a country that already has the largest pension accounts in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The statistics agency also predicts that Italy’s population will fall to 54.4 million by 2050 from 59 million last year, when the number of births fell to a historic low of under 400,000.
Immigration could provide a solution to the demographic decline affecting Italy and the rest of the EU, the Prime Minister believes George Meloniwhose government has pledged to provide more financial assistance to families who want to have children.
Italy’s school-age population will shrink by a million in the next decade due to falling birthrates and a continuing brain drain, Education Minister Giuseppe Valditara said, calling the scenario “alarming”.