Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Fertility and Migrants in Italy

This is just a snippet. In this post we had some interesting discussion on the impact of migrants on population dynamics in Sweden and Minnesota (see especially comments). One of the conclusions which I think we reached was that the impact of migration on fertility depended on the level of fertility in the origin country and on the proportion of migrants in the childbearing-age-population. So I thought this recent news from Italy might be of interest. 10% of babies now being born in Rome are children of non-Italian nationals, and 13 if you include those with at least one non-Italian parent. Of course making extrapolations forward is much more difficult, since we don't know how rapidly migrants will keep arriving in Rome in the future, or what the future levels of migrant fertility will be once they have settled in the country. But it does re-inforce the point that migrants not only contribute to taxes, they also contribute to children, a point Marty Feldstein did not see to consider vis-a-vis the arguments in the last post.
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La Febbre Migratoria

A couple of weeks back I had the pleasure of seeing Alessandro D'Alatri's recent film La Febbre (Fever)....My point of interest in this post, however, is not really the film itself, but rather the film as a reflection of something else: the disenchantment and frustration that many young Italians seem to feel with contemporary Italian society, and the impact that the evident failure of Italian civil society to adjust to Italy's contemporary social and demographic reality may have on the future evolution of Italian economy and society...

Now while all of this may be very much to to the point in terms of sentiments, there is one aspect to the situation that D'Alatri hasn't got quite right. You see the fact is there are currently an estimated 3.5 million Italians living and working outside Italy (to go by the official AIRE database), but one thing they do need to hang on to is their Italian pasport, since it is this document which enables them to move, indeed this is the exit ticket from Italy.

Now the point I would like to draw attention to here is the substantial loss of future human capital which Italy is experiencing at the present time. Back in 2002 the website Lavoce published an article on exactly this topic. As they say, throughout the 1990s a growing number of Italian graduates started leaving Italy:
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And in Italy ...

Italy's ANSA news agency reports on the country's continuing demographic changes.

Concerns over Italy's ageing population were fuelled on Monday by the release of a report showing that the country's grey army has swelled to some 11.5 million, or almost 20% of the population.

The report by national statistics bureau Istat said that a record 19.5% of Italians are now 65 or over, making Italy one of the world's 'greyest' societies.

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Greying in Liguria

This article in the IHT provides an interesting insight into how the ageing process is affecting one region of Italy, the Liguria region whose capital is Genoa. Probably the idea of NO children in the streets is something of an exaggeration, but the main picture is clear:

There are hundreds of stores in the Fiumara Mall - Sephora, Elan, Lavazza Café. But in a nation long known for its hordes of children, there is not one toy store in the sprawling mix, and a shiny merry-go-round stands dormant.
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