Italy’s declining birthrate is a tragedy – Pope


Pope Francis (file photo)

Pope Francis has raised alarm over Italy’s declining birthrate, warning that the trend represented a threat to the future of the country.

The pope, who spoke on Sunday, was reacting to the birthrate in Italy last year, which hit the lowest level since the unification of the nation in 1861.

The national statistics office, according to Reuters, said this month that the figure was falling for a 12th consecutive year.

“The demographic winter is a real worry, at least here in Italy,” the pope said in his weekly address in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

“It seems that a lot of people have lost the wish to have children. Lots of couples prefer to remain childless or to have one child only. … It’s a tragedy … which runs counter to our families, our country and our future,” Pope said.

There were 404,892 births in Italy last year, the ISTAT statistics office said, down 15,192 from 2019. There were 746,146 deaths in 2020 as the population fell to 59.3 million.

ISTAT said the slump in births had continued this year, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be a factor in the decline.


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