Demographics of Italy
Italy Population Pyramid.svg
Population pyramid of Italy as of 2022
PopulationDecrease 58,853,482 (31 July 2022)[1]
Growth rateDecrease -0.57% (2020)
Birth rate6.8 births/1,000 population (2020)
Death rate12.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020)
Life expectancy82 years (2020)
 • male79.7 years
 • female84.4 years
Fertility rate1.24 children born/woman (2020)
Infant mortality rate3.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2015)[2]
Net migration rate1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020)
Nationality
Nationalitynoun: Italian(s) adjective: Italian
Major ethnicItalians
Language
SpokenItalian, others
Animated population pyramid 1982–2021. Those born during the World wars are marked in dark
Animated population pyramid 1982–2021. Those born during the World wars are marked in dark

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Italy, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

At the beginning of 2022, Italy had an estimated population of 58,9 million. Its population density, at 197 inhabitants per square kilometre (510/sq mi), is higher than that of most Western European countries. However, the distribution of the population is widely uneven; the most densely populated areas are the Po Valley (that accounts for almost half of the national population) in northern Italy and the metropolitan areas of Rome and Naples in central and southern Italy, while other vast areas are very sparsely populated, like the plateaus of Basilicata, the Alps and Apennines highlands, and the island of Sardinia.

The population of the country almost doubled during the twentieth century, but the pattern of growth was extremely uneven due to large-scale internal migration from the rural South to the industrial cities of the North, a phenomenon which happened as a consequence of the Italian economic miracle of the 1950–1960s. In addition, after centuries of net emigration, from the 1980s Italy has experienced large-scale immigration for the first time in modern history. According to the Italian government, there were an estimated 5,234,000 foreign nationals resident in Italy on 1 January 2019.[3]

High fertility and birth rates persisted until the 1970s, after which they started to dramatically decline, leading to rapid population aging. At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, one in five Italians was over 65 years old.[4] Italy has experienced a short growth in birth rates.[5] The total fertility rate had climbed temporary from an all-time low of 1.18 children per woman in 1995 to 1.46 in 2010.[6] To drop again to 1.24 in 2020. Due to large scale migration in the 2000s the total population reached its peak in 2014. Since then (lower) migration could not offset a shrinking population size, mainly due to the low birthrate, but also due to aging, the rising mortality.

Since the revised 1984 Lateran Treaty agreement, Italy has no official religion. However, it recognizes the role the Catholic Church plays in Italian society. In 2017, 78% of the population identified as Catholic, 15% as non-believers or atheists, 2% as other Christians and 6% adhered to other religions.[7]

Historical overview

1861 to early 20th century

Main article: Italian diaspora

From its unification in 1861 to the Italian economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s, Italy has been a country of mass emigration. Between 1898 and 1914, the peak years of Italian diaspora, approximately 750,000 Italians emigrated each year.[8] As a consequence, large numbers of people with full or significant Italian ancestry are found in Brazil (25 million),[9] Argentina (20 million),[10] US (17.8 million),[11] France (5 million),[12] Venezuela (2 million),[13][14] Uruguay (1.5 million),[15] Canada (1.4 million),[16] and Australia (800,000).[17] In addition, Italian communities once thrived in the former African colonies of Eritrea (nearly 100,000 at the beginning of World War II),[18] Somalia and Libya (150,000 Italians settled in Libya, constituting about 18% of the total Libyan population).[19]

After World War II

After Tito's annexation of Istria, Kvarner, most of the Julian March as well as the Dalmatian city of Zara following the Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947, up to 350,000 local ethnic Italians (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians) left communist Yugoslavia (Istrian–Dalmatian exodus).[20][21] Furthermore, all of Libya's Italians were expelled after Muammar Gaddafi's takeover in 1970.[22]

As a result of the profound economic and social changes brought by rapid postwar economic growth, including low birth rates, an aging population and thus a shrinking workforce, by the 1970s emigration had all but stopped and Italy started to have a positive net migration rate.[23] The nation's immigrant population reached 5 million by 2015, making up some 8% of the total population.[24] However, the long-lasting effects of the Eurozone crisis double-dip recession strongly slowed down immigration rates in Italy in the 2010s.[25]

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Main article: COVID-19 pandemic in Italy

As a direct effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy registered at least 100,000 excess deaths for 2020 only, a loss of about 1.4 years in the average life expectancy, a noticeable decrease in births rates and a marked decrease in immigration rates, the overall effect being a record natural population decline of 342,042 units in that year, the largest ever recorded since 1918 (at the time of World War I).[26]

Population

Further information: Italians

Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review in 2022.[27]

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1861 21,777,334—    
1871 26,801,154+23.1%
1881 28,459,628+6.2%
1901 32,475,253+14.1%
1911 34,671,377+6.8%
1921 37,973,977+9.5%
1931 41,176,671+8.4%
1936 42,993,602+4.4%
1951 47,515,537+10.5%
1961 50,623,569+6.5%
1971 54,136,547+6.9%
1981 56,556,911+4.5%
1991 56,778,031+0.4%
2001 56,995,744+0.4%
2011 59,433,744+4.3%
2021 (est.) 59,257,566−0.3%
Source: ISTAT[28][29][26]
Historic population of Italy
Historic population of Italy

[30]

Life expectancy

Historical development of life expectancy in Italy
Historical development of life expectancy in Italy

Sources: Our World In Data and the United Nations. 1871–1950

Years 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 29.8 29.7 31.6 31.8 31.3 33.6 34.9 34.3 34.0 32.8
Years 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 34.2 34.3 35.2 36.6 36.9 35.1 36.0 37.0 39.1 38.5
Years 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 38.5 38.9 39.8 40.0 39.6 40.7 43.3 42.3 43.7 41.7
Years 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 43.5 43.0 43.1 44.4 43.9 45.1 45.4 43.1 44.6 46.7
Years 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 44.7 48.9 48.4 49.9 42.5 39.6 38.1 25.8 42.3 45.5
Years 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 49.2 50.0 51.4 51.5 51.3 50.9 52.5 52.6 52.3 55.2
Years 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 54.8 54.7 56.3 56.8 56.2 56.7 55.5 56.1 57.6 57.0
Years 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950[31]
Life expectancy in Italy 54.7 52.5 49.4 52.4 54.9 59.0 61.2 63.4 64.1 65.8

1950–2020

Period Life expectancy in
Years
Period Life expectancy in
Years
1950–1955 66.5 1985–1990 76.4
1955–1960 68.4 1990–1995 77.5
1960–1965 69.7 1995–2000 78.8
1965–1970 70.9 2000–2005 80.3
1970–1975 72.2 2005–2010 81.5
1975–1980 73.6 2010–2015 82.4
1980–1985 74.9 2015–2020 83.3

Source: UN World Population Prospects[32]

Fertility

TFR of Italy overtime to 2016
TFR of Italy overtime to 2016

The total fertility rate is the number of children born per woman. It is based on fairly good data for the entire period. Sources: Our World in Data and Gapminder Foundation.[33]

Years 1850 1851 1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858 1859 1860[33]
Total Fertility Rate in Italy 5.47 5.42 5.38 5.33 5.29 5.24 5.19 5.15 5.1 5.06 5.01
Years 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870[33]
Total Fertility Rate in Italy 4.96 4.93 4.9 4.9 4.91 4.91 4.92 4.92 4.91 4.9
Years 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880[33]
Total Fertility Rate in Italy 4.9 4.89 4.88 4.89 4.9 4.9 4.91 4.92 4.95 4.98
Years 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890[33]
Total Fertility Rate in Italy 5 5.03 5.06 5.05 5.04 5.04 5.03 5.02 4.98 4.95
The Sicilian photographer Giuseppe Riggio (1871–1960) with his large nuclear family in 1925
The Sicilian photographer Giuseppe Riggio (1871–1960) with his large nuclear family in 1925
Years 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899[33]
Total Fertility Rate in Italy 4.91 4.88 4.84 4.79 4.74 4.69 4.64 4.59 4.56

In 2021 this was 1.47 children born/woman.

Mother's mean age at first birth; 31.1 years (2017 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 0–14 years: 13.45% (male 4,292,431/female 4,097,732)
15-24 years: 9.61% (male 3,005,402/female 2,989,764)
25-54 years: 40.86% (male 12,577,764/female 12,921,614)
55-64 years: 14% (male 4,243,735/female 4,493,581)
65 years and over: 22.08% (male 5,949,560/female 7,831,076) (2020 est.

Median age

total: 46.5 years. Country comparison to the world: 5th
male: 45.4 years
female: 47.5 years (2020 est.)

Cities

See also: Metropolitan areas in Italy and List of cities in Italy by population

70.4% of Italian population is classified as urban,[34] a relatively low figure among developed countries. During the last two decades, Italy underwent a devolution process, that eventually led to the creation of administrative metropolitan areas, to give major cities and their metropolitan areas a provincial status (somehow similar to PRC's direct-controlled municipality).

According to OECD,[35] the largest conurbations are:

Urbanization

urban population: 71% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.29% annual rate of change (2015–20 est.)
Map of Italy's population density at the 2011 census
Map of Italy's population density at the 2011 census
Metropolitan cities and larger urban zone[36][37]
Metropolitan city Region Area (km2) Population (1 January 2019) Functional Urban Areas
(FUA) Population (2016)
Rome Lazio 5,352 4,342,212 4,414,288
Milan Lombardy 1,575 3,250,315 5,111,481
Naples Campania 1,171 3,084,890 3,418,061
Turin Piedmont 6,829 2,259,523 1,769,475
Palermo Sicily 5,009 1,252,588 1,033,226
Bari Apulia 3,821 1,251,994 749,723
Catania Sicily 3,574 1,107,702 658,805
Florence Tuscany 3,514 1,011,349 807,896
Bologna Emilia-Romagna 3,702 1,014,619 775,247
Genoa Liguria 1,839 841,180 713,243
Venice Veneto 2,462 853,338 561,697
Messina Sicily 3,266 626,876 273,680
Reggio Calabria Calabria 3,183 548,009 221,139
Cagliari Sardinia 1,248 431,038 488,954

Vital statistics

[38][39][40]

Average population Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1,000) Crude death rate (per 1,000) Natural change (per 1,000) Total Fertility Rates[fn 1][33][41]
1900 32,377,000 1,067,376 768,917 298,459 33.0 23.7 9.2 4.53
1901 32,550,000 1,057,763 715,036 342,727 32.5 22.0 10.5 4.49
1902 32,787,000 1,093,074 727,181 365,893 33.3 22.2 11.2 4.46
1903 33,004,000 1,042,090 736,311 305,779 31.6 22.3 9.3 4.43
1904 33,237,000 1,085,431 698,604 386,827 32.7 21.0 11.6 4.44
1905 33,489,000 1,084,518 730,340 354,178 32.4 21.8 10.6 4.45
1906 33,718,000 1,070,978 696,875 374,103 31.8 20.7 11.1 4.45
1907 33,952,000 1,062,333 700,333 362,000 31.3 20.6 10.7 4.46
1908 34,198,000 1,138,813 770,054 368,759 33.3 22.5 10.8 4.47
1909 34,455,000 1,115,831 738,460 377,371 32.4 21.4 11.0 4.43
1910 34,751,000 1,144,410 682,459 461,951 32.9 19.6 13.3 4.39
1911 35,033,000 1,093,545 742,811 350,734 31.2 21.2 10.0 4.36
1912 35,246,000 1,133,985 635,788 498,197 32.2 18.0 14.1 4.32
1913 35,351,000 1,122,482 663,966 458,516 31.8 18.8 13.0 4.28
1914 35,701,000 1,114,091 643,355 470,736 31.2 18.0 13.2 4.04
1915 36,271,000 1,109,183 809,703 299,480 30.6 22.3 8.3 3.80
1916 36,481,000 881,626 854,703 26,923 24.2 23.4 0.7 3.56
1917 36,343,000 691,207 948,710 -257,503 19.6 26.1 -7.1 3.32
1918 35,922,000 640,263 1,268,290 -628,027 18.2 35.3 -17.5 3.08
1919 35,717,000 770,620 676,329 94,291 21.6 18.9 2.6 3.24
1920 35,960,000 1,158,041 681,749 476,292 32.2 19.0 13.2 3.41
1921 37,869,000 1,118,344 670,234 448,110 30.7 17.7 13.0 3.57
1922 38,196,000 1,127,444 690,054 437,390 30.8 18.1 12.7 3.74
1923 38,571,000 1,107,505 654,827 452,678 29.9 17.0 11.7 3.90
1924 38,927,000 1,124,470 663,077 461,393 28.9 17.0 11.9 3.81
1925 39,265,000 1,109,761 669,695 440,066 28.2 17.1 11.2 3.72
1926 39,590,000 1,094,587 680,274 414,313 27.7 17.2 10.5 3.64
1927 39,926,000 1,093,772 639,843 453,929 27.4 16.0 11.4 3.55
1928 40,281,000 1,072,316 645,654 426,662 26.6 16.0 10.6 3.46
1929 40,607,000 1,037,700 667,223 370,477 25.6 16.4 9.1 3.42
1930 40,956,000 1,092,678 576,751 515,927 26.7 14.1 12.6 3.38
1931 41,339,000 1,026,197 609,405 416,792 24.8 14.7 10.1 3.21
1932 41,584,000 990,995 610,646 380,349 23.8 14.7 9.1 3.06
1933 41,928,000 995,979 574,113 421,866 23.8 13.7 10.1 3.04
1934 42,277,000 992,966 563,339 429,627 23.5 13.3 10.2 3.00
1935 42,631,000 996,708 594,722 401,986 23.4 14.0 9.4 2.98
1936 42,965,000 962,686 593,380 369,306 22.4 13.8 8.6 2.87
1937 43,269,000 991,867 618,290 373,577 22.9 14.3 8.6 2.93
1938 43,596,000 1,037,180 614,988 422,192 23.8 14.1 9.7 3.05
1939 44,018,000 1,040,213 591,483 448,730 23.6 13.4 10.2 3.07
1940 44,467,000 1,046,479 606,907 439,572 23.5 13.6 9.9 3.07
1941 44,830,000 937,546 621,735 315,811 20.9 13.9 7.0 2.74
1942 45,098,000 926,063 643,607 282,456 20.5 14.3 6.3 2.69
1943 44,641,000 882,105 679,708 202,397 19.8 15.2 4.5 2.61
1944 44,794,000 814,746 685,171 129,575 18.3 15.3 2.9 2.39
1945 44,946,000 815,678 615,092 200,586 18.2 13.7 4.5 2.37
1946 45,253,000 1,036,098 547,952 488,146 23.0 12.1 10.8 3.01
1947 45,641,000 1,011,490 524,019 487,471 22.2 11.5 10.8 2.89
1948 46,381,000 1,005,851 490,450 515,401 21.8 10.6 11.2 2.83
1949 46,733,000 937,146 485,277 451,869 20.1 10.4 9.7 2.62
1950 47,104,000 908,622 455,169 453,453 19.3 9.7 9.6 2.50
1951 47,417,000 860,998 485,208 375,790 18.2 10.2 7.9 2.35
1952 47,666,000 863,661 488,470 375,191 17.7 10.0 7.7 2.34
1953 47,957,000 860,345 484,527 375,818 17.5 9.9 7.6 2.31
1954 48,299,000 881,845 445,902 435,943 18.0 9.1 8.9 2.35
1955 48,633,000 879,130 449,058 430,072 17.9 9.2 8.7 2.33
1956 48,920,000 884,043 499,504 384,539 17.9 10.2 7.7 2.34
1957 49,181,000 885,812 483,558 402.254 17.9 9.8 8.0 2.33
1958 49,475,000 880,361 459,366 420,995 17.6 9.3 8.3 2.31
1959 49,831,000 910,628 454,547 456,081 18.1 9.1 9.0 2.38
1960 50,198,000 923,004 480,848 442,156 18.1 9.6 8.6 2.41
1961 50,523,000 924,203 460,009 464,194 18.4 9.3 9.1 2.41
1962 50,843,000 945,842 503,106 442,736 18.4 10.0 8.4 2.46
1963 51,198,000 978,143 514,000 464,143 18.8 10.1 8.7 2.56
1964 51,600,000 1,035,207 488,601 546,606 19.7 9.5 10.2 2.70
1965 51,987,000 1,017,944 516,922 501,022 19.1 10.0 9.1 2.66
1966 52,332,000 999,316 493,562 505,754 18.7 9.5 9.2 2.63
1967 52,667,000 962,197 507,845 454,352 18.0 9.7 8.3 2.54
1968 52,987,000 944,837 530,738 414,099 17.6 10.1 7.5 2.49
1969 53,317,000 949,155 530,348 418,807 17.5 10.1 7.4 2.51
1970 53,661,000 917,496 528,622 388,874 16.8 9.7 7.1 2.43
1971 54,074,000 911,084 515,318 395,766 16.8 9.7 7.1 2.41
1972 54,381,000 893,061 518,020 375,041 16.3 9.6 6.7 2.36
1973 54,751,000 887,953 544,461 343,492 16.0 10.0 6.0 2.34
1974 55,111,000 886,310 532,753 353,557 15.8 9.7 6.1 2.33
1975 55,441,000 841,858 556,019 285,839 14.9 10.0 4.9 2.21
1976 55,718,000 806,358 556,143 250,215 14.0 9.9 4.1 2.11
1977 55,955,000 757,281 547,011 210,270 13.2 9.8 3.5 1.97
1978 56,155,000 720,545 539,685 180,860 12.6 9.6 3.0 1.87
1979 56,318,000 682,742 541,825 140,917 11.9 9.6 2.3 1.76
1980 56,434,000 657,278 559,376 97,902 11.3 9.8 1.5 1.68
1981 56,502,000 628,113 540,764 87,349 11.0 9.7 1.4 1.60
1982 56,544,000 634,678 537,727 96,951 10.9 9.5 1.5 1.60
1983 56,564,000 612,936 563,807 49,129 10.6 10.0 0.7 1.54
1984 56,577,000 597,560 535,661 61,899 10.4 9.5 0.9 1.48
1985 56,593,000 589,233 549,529 39,704 10.2 9.7 0.5 1.45
1986 56,596,000 562,512 545,189 17,323 9.8 9.5 0.3 1.37
1987 56,602,000 560,265 534,993 25,272 9.7 9.3 0.5 1.35
1988 56,629,000 577,856 537,545 40,311 10.1 9.5 0.5 1.38
1989 56,672,000 567,268 531,557 35,711 9.9 9.4 0.5 1.35
1990 56,719,000 580,761 544,397 36,364 10.0 9.6 0.5 1.36
1991 56,751,000 556,175 547,131 9,044 9.9 9.8 0.2 1.33
1992 56,797,000 575,216 545,038 30,178 10.0 9.6 0.4 1.31
1993 56,832,000 552,587 555,043 -2,456 9.7 9.7 -0.1 1.26
1994 56,843,000 536,665 557,513 -20,848 9.4 9.8 -0.4 1.22
1995 56,844,000 526,064 555,203 -29.139 9.2 9.8 -0.5 1.19
1996 56,860,000 536,740 557,756 -21,016 9.3 9.8 -0.5 1.22
1997 56,890,000 540,048 564,679 -24,631 9.4 9.9 -0.5 1.23
1998 56,907,000 532,843 576,911 -44,068 9.3 10.1 -0.8 1.21
1999 56,917,000 537,242 571,356 -34.114 9.4 10.0 -0.5 1.23
2000 56,942,000 543,039 560,241 -17,202 9.5 9.8 -0.3 1.26
2001 56,960,000 535,282 548,254 -12.972 9.4 9.8 -0.4 1.25
2002 56,993,270 538,198 557,393 -19,195 9.4 9.8 -0.4 1.27
2003 57,186,378 544,063 586,468 -42,405 9.5 10.3 -0.7 1.29
2004 57,611,990 562,599 546,658 15,941 9.8 9.5 0.3 1.34
2005 58,044,368 554,022 567,304 -13.282 9.5 9.8 -0.2 1.34
2006 58,288,996 560,010 557,892 2,118 9.6 9.6 0.0 1.37
2007 58,510,725 563,933 570,801 -6.868 9.6 9.8 -0.2 1.40
2008 59,001,769 576,659 585,126 -8,467 9.8 9.9 -0.1 1.45
2009 59,420,592 568,857 591.663 -22.806 9.6 9.8 -0.3 1.45
2010 59,690,316 561,944 587.488 -25.544 9.4 9.7 -0.3 1.46
2011 59,948,497 546,585 593,402 -46,817 9.1 9.9 -0.8 1.44
2012 60,105,185 534,186 612,883 -78,697 8.9 10.2 -1.3 1.42
2013 60,277,309 514,308 600,744 -86,436 8.5 10.0 -1.4 1.39
2014 60,345,917 502,596 598,364 -95,768 8.3 9.9 -1.6 1.37
2015 60,295,497 485,780 647,571 -161,791 8.1 10.7 -2.7 1.35
2016 60,163,712 473,438 615,261 -141,823 7.9 10.2 -2.4 1.34
2017 60,066,734 458,151 649,061 -190,910 7.6 10.8 -3.2 1.32
2018 59,937,769 439,747 633,133 -193,386 7.3 10.6 -3.2 1.29
2019 59,816,673 420,084 634,417 -214,333 7.0 10.6 -3.6 1.27
2020 59,641,488 404,892 740,317 -335,425 6.8 12.4 -5.6 1.24
2021 59,257,566 399,431 709,035 -309,604 6.7 11.9 -5.2 1.25
2022 58,983,122

In the year 2020 88,345 babies were born to at least one foreign parent which makes up 21.8% of all newborns in that year (21,024 or 5.2% were born to foreign mothers, 7,529 or 1.9% to foreign fathers and 59,792 or 14.8% to two foreign parents.[42]

Current vital statistics

[43]

Period Live births Deaths Natural increase
January - July 2021 221,910 426,551 −204,641
January - July 2022 217,147 421,279 −204,132
Difference Decrease -4,763 (-2.15%) Positive decrease -5,272 (-1.24%) Increase + 509

Health

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

19.9% (2016) Country comparison to the world: 108

Employment and income

Unemployment, youth ages 15–24:

total: 32.2%. Country comparison to the world: 26th
male: 30.4%
female: 34.8% (2018 est.)

Immigration

Main article: Immigration to Italy

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and more recently, the 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the European Union, Italy received growing flows of migrants from the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe (especially Romania, Albania, Ukraine and Poland).[44] The second most important area of immigration to Italy has always been the neighboring North Africa (especially Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria).[45] Furthermore, in recent years, growing migration fluxes from the Far East (notably, China[46] and the Philippines) and Latin America (Ecuador, Peru) have been recorded.

Italy does not collect data on ethnicity or race of the country, but does collect data on nationality of its residents.[47]

In 2020, Istat estimated that 5,039,637 foreign citizens lived in Italy, representing about 8.4% of the total population.[26] These figures do not include naturalized foreign-born residents (about 100,000 foreigners acquired Italian citizenship in 2020) as well as illegal immigrants, the so-called clandestini, whose numbers, difficult to determine, are thought to be at least 670,000.[48] Romanians made up the largest community in the country (1,145,718; around 10% of them being ethnic Romani people[49]), followed by Albanians (441,027) and Moroccans (422,980).[50][51]

The fourth largest, but the fastest growing, community of foreign residents in Italy was represented by the Chinese.[52] The majority of Chinese living in Italy are from the city of Wenzhou in the province of Zhejiang.[53] Breaking down the foreign-born population by continent, in 2020 the figures were as follows: Europe (54%), Africa (22%), Asia (16%), the Americas (8%) and Oceania (0.06%). The distribution of immigrants is largely uneven in Italy: 83% of immigrants live in the northern and central parts of the country (the most economically developed areas), while only 17% live in the southern half of the peninsula.[54]

Net migration rate
3.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.) Country comparison to the world: 34th
Nationality groups Year
2002[55] 2005[55] 2010[55] 2015[55] 2019[56] 2021[57]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Italy Italians 55,651,856 97.64% 55,775,350 96.09% 55,853,967 93.57% 55,460,252 91.98% 54,820,515 91.65% 54,064,319 91.27%
Foreigners 1,341,414 2.36% 2,269,018 3.91% 3,836,349 6.43% 4,835,245 8.02% 4,996,158 8.35% 5,171,894 8.73%
European Union EU-27 1,472,847 2.46% 1,406,623 2.37%
Other European 1,036,761 2.73% 1,053,765 1.78%
Northern Africa 639,994 1.07% 689,649 1.16%
Central and South Asia 528,182 0.88% 605,000 1.02%
Eastern Asia 464,557 0.78% 521,686 0.88%
Western Africa 389,602 0.65% 400,112 0.68%
Central and South America 345,466 0.58% 366,062 0.62%
Western Asia 36,914 44,272
Eastern Africa 37,131 35,486
Central and South Africa 24,919 25,343
Northern America 17,082 21,216
Oceania 2,120 2,248
Stateless 583 432
Total 56,993,270 100% 58,044,368 100% 59,690,316 100% 60,295,497 100% 59,816,673 100% 59,236,213 100%
Italy is home to a large population of migrants from Eastern Europe and North Africa.
Italy is home to a large population of migrants from Eastern Europe and North Africa.
Total foreign resident population on 1 January[note 1]
Year Population
2002 1,341,209[58]
2003 1,464,663[58]
2004 1,854,748[58]
2005 2,210,478[58]
2006 2,419,483[58]
2007 2,592,950[58]
2008 3,023,317[58]
2009 3,402,435[58]
2010 3,648,128[58]
2011 3,879,224[58]
2012 4,052,081[59]
2013 4,387,721[60]
2014 4,922,085[61]
2015 5,014,437[62]
2016 5,026,153[63]
2017 5,047,028[64]
2018 5,144,440[65]
2019 5,255,503[66]
2020 5,013,215[67]
2021 5,171,894 (8.7%)[68]

There are, as of 2021, 6,262,207 Foreign-born residents, accounting for 10.6% of the total population.

Their distribution by country of origin was as follows:[69]

Country Population
European Union Romania 1,076,412
 Albania 433,171
 Morocco 428,947
 China 330,495
 Ukraine 235,953
 India 165,512
 Philippines 165,443
 Bangladesh 158,020
 Egypt 139,569
 Pakistan 135,520
 Moldova 122,667
 Nigeria 119,089
 Sri Lanka 112,018
 Senegal 111,092
 Tunisia 97,407
 Peru 96,546
European Union Poland 77,779
 Ecuador 72,193
 North Macedonia 55,771
 Ghana 50,778
 Brazil 50,666
European Union Bulgaria 50,355
 Russia 39,746
 Kosovo 38,860
European Union Germany 35,091
 Serbia 32,898
European Union Spain 32,637
European Union France 31,354
 United Kingdom 30,325
 Dominican Republic 30,255
 Ivory Coast 29,673
 Cuba 22,958
 Gambia 22,213
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 21,442
 Turkey 20,999
 Salvador 20,038
 Mali 20,015

Languages

Main articles: Regional Italian, Languages of Italy, and Historical linguistic minorities of Italy

Languages spoken in Italy

Italy's official language is Italian; Ethnologue has estimated that there are about 55 million speakers of Italian in the country and a further 6.7 million outside of it, primarily in the neighboring countries and in the Italian diaspora worldwide.[70] Italian, adopted by the central state after the unification of Italy, is a language based on the Florentine variety of Tuscan and is somewhat intermediate between the Italo-Dalmatian languages and the Gallo-Romance languages. Its development was also influenced by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. When Italy unified in 1861, only 3% of the population spoke Italian,[71] even though an estimated 90% of Italians speak Italian as their L1 nowadays.[72]

Italy is in fact one of the most linguistically diverse countries in Europe,[73] as there are not only varieties of Italian specific to each cultural region, but also distinct regional and minority languages. The establishment of the national education system has led to the emergence of the former and a decrease in the use of the latter. The spread of Italian was further expanded in the 1950s and 1960s, because of the economic growth and the rise of mass media and television, with the state broadcaster (RAI) setting a colloquial variety of Italian to which the population would be exposed.

As a way to distance itself from the Italianization policies promoted because of nationalism, Italy recognized twelve languages as the Country's "historical linguistic minorities",[74] which are promoted alongside Italian in their respective territories. French is co-official in the Aosta Valley as the province's prestige variety, under which the more commonly spoken Franco-Provencal dialects have been historically roofed.[75] German has the same status in the province of South Tyrol as, in some parts of that province and in parts of the neighbouring Trentino, does Ladin.[76] Slovene[77] and Friulian are officially recognised in the provinces of Trieste, Gorizia and Udine in Venezia Giulia. In Sardinia, the Sardinian language has been the language traditionally spoken and is often regarded by linguists as constituting its own branch of Romance;[78] in the 1990s, Sardinian has been recognized as "having equal dignity" with Italian,[79] the introduction of which to the island officially started under the rule of the House of Savoy in the 18th century.

In these regions, official documents are either bilingual (trilingual in Ladin communities) in the co-official language(s) by default, or available as such upon request. Traffic signs are also multilingual, except in the Valle d’Aosta where French toponyms are generally used, with the exception of Aosta itself, which has retained its Latin form in Italian as well as English. Attempts to Italianize them, especially during the Fascist period, have been formally abandoned. Education is possible in minority languages where such schools are operating.

UNESCO and other authorities recognize a number of other languages which are not legally protected by Italian government: Piedmontese, Venetian, Ligurian, Lombard, Emilian-Romagnolo, Neapolitan and Sicilian.

Religion

Main article: Religion in Italy

Religion in Italy according to the Eurobarometer survey, 2021[80]

  Catholicism (79.2%)
  Protestantism (0.3%)
  Other Christian (1.4%)
  Islam (1.0%)
  Buddhism (0.4%)
  Hinduism/Sikhism (0.3%)
  Judaism (0.1%)
  Other (1.4%)
  Agnosticism (7.5%)
  Atheism (4.1%)
  Undeclared (1.0%)

Roman Catholicism is by far the largest religion in the country, although the Catholic Church is no longer officially the state religion. In 2006, 87.8% of Italy's population self-identified as Roman Catholic,[81] although only about one-third of these described themselves as active members (36.8%). In 2016, 71.1% of Italian citizens self-identified as Roman Catholic.[82] This increased again to 78% in 2018.[7]

Most Italians believe in God, or a form of a spiritual life force. According to a Eurobarometer Poll in 2005:[83] 74% of Italian citizens responded that 'they believe there is a God', 16% answered that 'they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force' and 6% answered that 'they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force'. There are no data collected through census.

Christianity

The Italian Catholic Church is part of the global Roman Catholic Church, under the leadership of the Pope, curia in Rome, and the Conference of Italian Bishops. In addition to Italy, two other sovereign nations are included in Italian-based dioceses, San Marino and Vatican City. There are 225 dioceses in the Italian Catholic Church, see further in this article and in the article List of the Roman Catholic dioceses in Italy. Even though by law Vatican City is not part of Italy, it is in Rome, and along with Latin, Italian is the most spoken and second language of the Roman Curia.[84]

Italy has a rich Catholic culture, especially as numerous Catholic saints, martyrs and popes were Italian themselves. Roman Catholic art in Italy especially flourished during the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque periods, with numerous Italian artists, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sandro Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian and Giotto. Roman Catholic architecture in Italy is equally as rich and impressive, with churches, basilicas and cathedrals such as St Peter's Basilica, Florence Cathedral and St Mark's Basilica. Roman Catholicism is the largest religion and denomination in Italy, with around 71.1% of Italians considering themselves Catholic. Italy is also home to the greatest number of cardinals in the world,[85] and is the country with the greatest number of Roman Catholic churches per capita.[86]

The Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, which has the biggest brick dome in the world,[87][88] and is considered a masterpiece of Italian architecture.
The Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, which has the biggest brick dome in the world,[87][88] and is considered a masterpiece of Italian architecture.

Even though the main Christian denomination in Italy is Roman Catholicism, there are some minorities of Protestant, Waldensian, Eastern Orthodox and other Christian churches.

Immigration from Western, Central, and Eastern Africa at the beginning of the 21st century has increased the size of Baptist, Anglican, Pentecostal and Evangelical communities in Italy, while immigration from Eastern Europe has produced large Eastern Orthodox communities.

In 2006, Protestants made up 2.1% of Italy's population, and members of Eastern Orthodox churches comprised 1.2% or more than 700,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians including 180,000 Greek Orthodox,[89] 550,000 Pentecostals and Evangelists (0.8%), of whom 400,000 are members of the Assemblies of God, about 250,000 are Jehovah's Witnesses (0.4%),[90] 30,000 Waldensians,[91] 25,000 Seventh-day Adventists, 22,000 Mormons, 15,000 Baptists (plus some 5,000 Free Baptists), 7,000 Lutherans, 4,000 Methodists (affiliated with the Waldensian Church).[92]

Other religions

The longest-established religious faith in Italy is Judaism, Jews having been present in Ancient Rome before the birth of Christ. Italy has seen many influential Italian-Jews, such as prime minister Luigi Luzzatti, who took office in 1910, Ernesto Nathan served as mayor of Rome from 1907 to 1913 and Shabbethai Donnolo (died 982). During the Holocaust, Italy took in many Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. However, with the creation of the Nazi-backed puppet Italian Social Republic, about 15% of 48,000 Italian Jews were killed. This, together with the emigration that preceded and followed the Second World War, has left only a small community of around 45,000 Jews in Italy today.

Due to immigration from around the world, there has been an increase in non-Christian religions. As of 2009, there were 1.0 million Muslims in Italy[93] forming 1.6 percent of population; independent estimates put the Islamic population in Italy anywhere from 0.8 million[94] to 1.5 million.[95] Only 50,000 Italian Muslims hold Italian citizenship.

There are more than 200,000 followers of faith originating in the Indian subcontinent, including some 70,000 Sikhs with 22 gurdwaras across the country,[96] 70,000 Hindus, and 50,000 Buddhists.[97] There are an estimated some 4,900 Bahá'ís in Italy in 2005.[98]

Education

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.2%
male: 99.4%
female: 99% (2018 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2018)

Genetics and ethnic groups

Main article: Genetic history of Italy

Principal Component Analysis of the Italian population.[99]
Principal Component Analysis of the Italian population.[99]

The genetic history of Italy is greatly influenced by geography and history. The ancestors of Italians are mostly Indo-European speakers (Italic peoples such as Latins, Umbrians, Samnites, Oscans, Sicels and Adriatic Veneti, as well as Celts, Iapygians and Greeks) and pre-Indo-European speakers (Etruscans, Ligures, Rhaetians and Camunni in mainland Italy, Sicani and Elymians in Sicily and the Nuragic people in Sardinia). During the imperial period of Ancient Rome, the city of Rome was also home to people from various regions throughout the Mediterranean basin, including Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.[100] Based on DNA analysis, there is evidence of ancient regional genetic substructure and continuity within modern Italy dating to the pre-Roman and Roman periods.[101][102][103][104]

Within the Italian population, there is enough cultural, linguistic, genetic and historical diversity for them to constitute several distinct groups throughout the peninsula.[105] In this regard, peoples like the Friulians, the Ladins, the Sardinians and the South Tyroleans, who also happen to constitute recognized linguistic minorities, or even the Sicilians who are not, are cases in point, attesting to such internal diversity.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ In fertility rates, 2.1 and above is a stable population and has been marked blue, 2 and below leads to an aging population and the result is that the population decreases.
  1. ^ The figures for 2002–2011 have been revised downwards as a result of the 15th General Census of Italy which offered more precise data. The figures since 2012 are calculated adding to the foreign population enumerated by the census the foreign population inflows and outflows recorded in all Italian municipalities during each calendar year.

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