Demographics of Italy

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Population 1960–2006. Number of inhabitants in thousands.
Historical population
YearPop.±%
1 8-10,000,000—    
5007,000,000—    
1000 7,000,000+0.0%
1500 11,000,000+57.1%
1861 22,182,377+101.7%
1871 27,303,509+23.1%
1881 28,953,480+6.0%
1901 32,965,504+13.9%
1911 35,845,048+8.7%
1921 39,943,528+11.4%
1931 41,651,000+4.3%
1936 42,943,602+3.1%
1951 47,515,537+10.6%
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%
2018 60,494,000+1.8%
Source: ISTAT

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 year 2017, Italy had an estimated population of 60.4 million. Its population density, at 201 inhabitants per square kilometre (520/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) and the metropolitan areas of Rome and Naples, while vast regions such as the Alps and Apennines highlands, the plateaus of Basilicata and the island of Sardinia are very sparsely populated.

The population of Italy 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 1950-60's. In addition, after centuries of net emigration, from the 1980's Italy has experienced large-scale immigration for the first time in modern history. According to the Italian government, there were an estimated 5,000,073 foreign nationals resident in Italy.[1]

High fertility and birth rates persisted until the 1970's, 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.[2] However, as a result of the massive immigration of the last two decades, Italy has, in recent years, experienced a significant growth in birth rates.[3] The total fertility rate has also climbed from an all-time low of 1.18 children per woman in 1995 to 1.41 in 2008.[4]

Since the 1984 Lateran Treaty agreement, Italy has no official religion. However, it recognizes the role the Catholic Church plays in Italian society. 87.8% of the population identify as Catholic, 5.8% as non-believers or atheists, 2.6% as Muslims, and 3.8% adhere to other religions.

Urbanization[edit]

345%cacaq of Italian population is classified as urban,[5] 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, in order to give major cities and their metropolitan areas a provincial status (somehow similar to PRC's direct-controlled municipality).

According to OECD,[6] the largest conurbations are:

Ethnic groups[edit]

Little Italy in New York, ca.1900.
A group of young people at Piazza del Popolo, Rome.
A group of black African men sitting or squatting on a low bench next to a glass wall in a large city square. In the rear can be seen a street with a tall rectilinear skyscraper
African migrants in Milan

Italy used to be a country of mass emigration from the late 19th century until the 1970's. Between 1898 and 1914, the peak years of Italian diaspora, approximately 750,000 Italians emigrated each year.[7] Italian communities once thrived in the former African colonies of Eritrea (nearly 100,000 at the beginning of World War II),[8] Somalia and Libya (150,000 Italians settled in Libya, constituting about 18% of the total population).[9] All of Libya's Italians were expelled from the North African country in 1970.[10] In addition, after the annexation of Istria in 1945, up to 350,000 ethnic Italians left Titoist Yugoslavia.[11] Today, large numbers of people with full or significant Italian ancestry are found in Brazil (25 million),[12] Argentina (20 million),[13] US (17.8 million),[14] France (5 million),[15] Venezuela (2 million),[16][17] Uruguay (1.5 million),[18] Canada (1.4 million),[19] and Australia (800,000).[20]

As a result of the profound economic and social changes induced by postwar industrialization, including low birth rates, an aging population and thus a shrinking workforce, during the 1980's Italy became to attract rising flows of foreign immigrants. The present-day figure of about 5 million foreign residents, that make up some 9% of the total population, include 97,000 children born in Italy to foreign nationals (19% of total births in Italy) in 2014, but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian nationality; this applied to 106,000 people in 2014.[21][22] The official figures also exclude illegal immigrants, the so-called clandestini, whose numbers are very difficult to determine. In May 2008 The Boston Globe quoted an estimate of 670,000 for this group.[23] Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and more recently, the 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the European Union, the main waves of migration came from the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe (especially Romania, Albania, Ukraine and Poland). The second most important area of immigration to Italy has always been the neighbouring North Africa (in particular, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia), with soaring arrivals as a consequence of the Arab Spring. Furthermore, in recent years, growing migration fluxes from the Far East (notably, China[24] and the Philippines) and Latin America (Ecuador, Peru) have been recorded. Currently, circa one million Romanians (around one tenth of them being Roma[25]) are officially registered as living in Italy, representing thus the most important individual country of origin, followed by Albanians and Moroccans with about 500,000 people each. The number of unregistered Romanians is difficult to estimate, but the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network suggested that in 2007 that there might have been half a million or more.[26][note 1] Overall, at the end of the 2000s the foreign born population of Italy was from: Europe (54%), Africa (22%), Asia (16%), the Americas (8%) and Oceania (0.06%). The distribution of immigrants is largely uneven in Italy: 84.9% of immigrants live in the northern and central parts of the country (the most economically developed areas), while only 15.1% live in the southern half of the peninsula.

There is significant cultural, linguistic, genetic, historical political diversity within the "Italian" ethnicity, enough to constitute several distinct ethnicities by some standards; when Italy unified in 1861, only 3% of the population spoke Standard Italian, with the rest speaking various other languages, and today an estimated 50% of Italians speak a language other than standard Italian as their L1.[28] Friulians, Sicilians, and Sardinians are examples of distinct peoples in Italy.

Estimated foreign-born population by country of birth, 2006 figures.
Origin of the population[29][30]
Origin Population Percent
Italian 55,818,099 92.81%
Romanian 604,832 1.00%
North African (Maghrebis) 646,624 1.07%
Albanian 502,546 0.77%
Chinese 265,820 0.28%
Ukrainian 233,726 0.31%
Asian (non-Chinese) 499,013 0.83%
Sub-Saharan African 324,917 0.54%
Latin American 285,169 0.47%
Other 782,549 1.29%

Historical data[edit]

Life expectancy at birth from 1871 to 2015[edit]

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

1950-2015

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

Source: UN World Population Prospects[32]

Total Fertility Rate from 1850 to 1899[edit]

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
Famous 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

Vital statistics since 1900[34][35][36][edit]

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]
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 3.8
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 -6.5 3.32
1918 35,922 000 640,263 1,268,290 -628,027 18.2 35.3 -17.1 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 13.0 3.9
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 4.6 2.61
1944 44,794 000 814,746 685,171 129,575 18.3 15.3 3.0 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 10.9 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 19.4 9.7 9.7 2,50
1951 47,417 000 860,998 485,208 375,790 18.2 10.2 8.0 2,35
1952 47,666 000 844,447 477,894 366,553 17.8 10.0 7.8 2.34
1953 47,957 000 839,478 476,015 363,463 17.6 9.9 7.6 2.31
1954 48,299 000 870,689 441,897 428,792 18.0 9.1 8.9 2.35
1955 48,633 000 869,333 446,689 422,644 17.9 9.2 8.7 2.33
1956 48,920 000 873,608 497,550 376,058 17.9 10.2 7.7 2.34
1957 49,181 000 878,906 484,190 394,716 17.9 9.8 8.0 2.33
1958 49,475 000 870,468 457,690 412,778 17.6 9.3 8.3 2.31
1959 49,831 000 901,017 454,740 446,277 18.1 9.1 9.0 2.38
1960 50,198 000 910,192 480,932 429,260 18.1 9.6 8.6 2.41
1961 50,523 000 929,657 468,455 461,202 18.4 9.3 9.1 2.41
1962 50,843 000 937,257 509,174 428,083 18.4 10.0 8.4 2.46
1963 51,198 000 960,336 516,377 443,959 18.8 10.1 8.7 2.56
1964 51,600 000 1,016,120 490,050 526,070 19.7 9.5 10.2 2.70
1965 51,987 000 990,458 518,008 472,450 19.1 10.0 9.1 2.66
1966 52,332 000 979,940 496,281 483,659 18.7 9.5 9.2 2.63
1967 52,667 000 948,772 510,122 438,650 18.0 9.7 8.3 2.54
1968 52,987 000 930,172 532,571 397,601 17.6 10.1 7.5 2.49
1969 53,317 000 932,466 539,129 393,337 17.5 10.1 7.4 2.51
1970 53,661 000 901,472 521,096 380,376 16.8 9.7 7.1 2.43
1971 54,074 000 906,182 522,654 383,528 16.8 9.7 7.9 2.41
1972 54,381 000 888,203 523,828 364,375 16.3 9.6 6.7 2.36
1973 54,751 000 874,546 547,487 327,059 16.0 10.0 6.0 2.34
1974 55,111 000 868,882 532,052 336,830 15.8 9.7 6.1 2.33
1975 55,441 000 827,852 554,346 273,506 14.9 10.0 4.9 2.21
1976 55,718 000 781,638 550,565 231,073 14.0 9.9 4.1 2.11
1977 55,955 000 741,103 546,694 194,409 13.2 9.8 3.5 1.97
1978 56,155 000 709,043 540,671 168,372 12.6 9.6 3.0 1.87
1979 56,318 000 670,221 538,352 131,869 11.9 9.6 2.3 1.76
1980 56,434 000 640,401 554,510 85,891 11.3 9.8 1.5 1.68
1981 56,502 000 623,103 545,291 77,812 11.0 9.7 1.4 1.60
1982 56,544 000 619,097 522,332 96,765 10.9 9.2 1.7 1.60
1983 56,564 000 601,928 553,568 48,360 10.6 9.8 0.8 1.54
1984 56,577 000 587,871 534,676 53,195 10.4 9.5 0.9 1.48
1985 56,593 000 577,345 547,436 29,909 10.2 9.7 0.5 1.45
1986 56,596 000 555,445 537,453 17,992 9.8 9.5 0.3 1.37
1987 56,602 000 551,539 524,999 26,540 9.8 9.3 0.5 1.35
1988 56,629 000 569,698 539,426 30,272 10.1 9.5 0.5 1.38
1989 56,672 000 560,688 525,960 34,728 9.8 9.3 0.5 1.35
1990 56,719 000 569,255 543,708 25,547 9.9 9.5 0.5 1.36
1991 56,751 000 562,787 553,833 8,954 9.9 9.8 0.2 1.33
1992 56,797 000 567,841 545,038 22,803 10.1 9.6 0.5 1.31
1993 56,832 000 549,484 555,043 -5,559 9.7 9.8 -0.0 1.26
1994 56,843 000 533,050 557,513 -24,463 9.4 9.8 -0.4 1.22
1995 56,844 000 525,609 555,203 -29,594 9.3 9.8 -0.5 1.19
1996 56,860 000 528,103 557,756 -29,653 9.4 9.8 -0.4 1.22
1997 56,890 000 534,462 564,679 -30,217 9.5 9.9 -0.4 1.23
1998 56,907 000 531,548 576,911 -45,363 9.4 10.1 -0.8 1.21
1999 56,917 000 537,242 571,356 -34,114 9.4 10.0 -0.6 1.23
2000 56,942 000 543,039 560,241 -17,202 9.5 9.8 -0.3 1.26
2001 56,960 000 535,264 548,227 -12,963 9.4 9.6 -0.2 1.25
2002 56,987 000 538,198 557,393 -19,195 9.4 9.8 -0.3 1.27
2003 57,130 000 544,063 586,468 -42,405 9.4 10.2 -0.8 1.29
2004 57,495 000 562,599 546,658 15,941 9.7 9.4 0.3 1.31
2005 57,874 000 554,022 567,304 -13,282 9.5 9.7 -0.2 1.33
2006 58,064 000 560,010 557,892 2,118 9.6 9.5 0.1 1.37
2007 58,223 000 563,933 570,801 -6,868 9.5 9.7 -0.2 1.40
2008 58,652 000 576,659 585,126 -8,467 9.6 9.8 -0.2 1.45
2009 59,000 000 568,857 591 663 -22,806 9.5 9.8 -0.3 1.45
2010 59,190 000 561,944 587,488 -25,544 9.3 9.7 -0.4 1.46
2011 59,364 000 546,585 593,402 -46,817 9.1 9.7 -0.6 1.44
2012 59,394 000 534,186 612,883 -78,697 9.0 10.3 -1.3 1.42
2013 59,685 000 514,308 600,744 -86,436 8.6 10.1 -1.5 1.39
2014 60,782 000 502,596 598,364 -95,768 8.4 9.8 -1.4 1.37
2015 60,795 000 485,780 647,571 -161,791 8.1 10.7 -2.6 1.35
2016 60,665 000 473,438 615,261 -141,823 7.8 10.0 -2.2 1.34
2017 60,484 000 458,151 649,061 -190,910 7.7 10.7 -3.0 1.33

Current natural increase[edit]

[37]

  • Number of births from January–July 2017 = Decrease 259,187
  • Number of births from January–July 2018 = Decrease 250,445
  • Number of deaths from January–July 2017 = Negative increase 389,769
  • Number of deaths from January–July 2018 = Positive decrease 379,651
  • Natural growth from January–July 2017 = Decrease -130,582
  • Natural growth from January–July 2018 = Increase -129,206

Demographic statistics[edit]

Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review.[38]

  • One birth every 1 minute
  • One death every 50 seconds
  • Net loss of one person every 7 minutes
  • One net migrant every 8 minutes

The following demographic statistics are from Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Statistica[39] and Cia World Factbook.[40]

Population pyramid of Italy in 2017
Population
62,137,802 (July 2017 est.)
60,674,003 (Jan 2016 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 13.65% (male 4,334,457/female 4,146,726)
15-24 years:: 9.66% (male 3,008,228/female 2,996,854)
25-54 years: 42.16% (male 12,933,634/female 13,265,541)
55-64 years: 12.99% (male 3,914,061/female 4,159,859)
65 years and over: 21.53% (male 5,758,197/female 7,620,245) (2017 est.)
0-14 years: 13.5% (men 4,056,156/women 3,814,070)
15-64 years: 66.3% (men 19,530,696/women 18,981,084)
65 years and over: 20.2% (men 4,903,762/women 6,840,444) (2010 est.)
Median age
total: 45.5 years (2017 est.) Country comparison to the world: 5th
men: 44.4 years
women: 46.5 years
total: 44.2 years (2015 est.)
men: 43.0 years
women: 45.3 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate
0.19% (2017 est.) Country comparison to the world: 183th
0.03% (2016 est.)
Birth rate
8.6 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
8.94 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)[41]
Death rate
10.4 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
10.01 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate
3.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.) Country comparison to the world: 31st
4.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 82.3 years. Country comparison to the world: 15th
male: 79.6 years
female: 85.1 years (2017 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth
30.7 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.39 children born/woman (Italian citizens)
1.91 children born/woman (Foreign citizens)
1.39 children born/woman (total citizens) (2014)[42]
1.44 children born/woman (2017 est.) Country comparison to the world: 206th
Infant mortality rate
total: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births. Country comparison to the world: 210th
men: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births
women: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Urbanization
urban population: 68% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.06 men(s)/women
under 15 years: 1.05 men(s)/women
15-64 years: 1.02 men(s)/women
65 years and over: 0.74 men(s)/women
total population: 0.93 men(s)/women (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate
4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.) Country comparison to the world: 178th
4.0 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Health expenditures
9.5% of total GDP (2010)
Physicians density
4.24 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density
3.6 beds/1,000 population (2009)
HIV/AIDS
Adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2009 est.)
People living with HIV/AIDS: 140,000 (2009 est.)
Deaths: fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
Obesity – adult prevalence rate
19.8% (2008)
Religions

Christian 80% (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic with very small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants), Muslim (about 800,000 to 1 million), atheist and agnostic 20%

Education expenditure
4.7% of total GDP (2008)
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6% (2003 est.)
Nationality
noun: Italian(s)
adjective: Italian

Languages[edit]

Languages and regional varieties in Italy.

Italy's official language is Italian. Ethnologue has estimated that there are about 55 million speakers of the language in Italy and a further 6.7 million outside of the country, primarily in the neighboring countries and in the Italian diaspora worldwide.[43]

Italian, adopted by the state after the unification of Italy, is 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.

Italy has numerous dialects spoken all over the country, including the actual varieties of Italian specific to each cultural region. However, the establishment of a national education system has led to decrease in variation in the languages spoken across the country. Standardisation was further expanded in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to economic growth and the rise of mass media and television (the state broadcaster RAI helped set a standard Italian).

Twelve minority and regional languages are legally recognized and protected,[44] and they have co-official status alongside Italian in various parts of the country. French is co-official in the Valle d’Aosta—although in fact Franco-Provencal is more commonly spoken there. 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. Slovene and Friulian are officially recognised in the provinces of Trieste, Gorizia and Udine in Venezia Giulia. The Sardinian language is recognized as co-official in Sardinia.

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

UNESCO and other authories recognize many other endangered languages, which are not protected by Italian government: Piedmontese, Venetian, Ligurian, Lombard, Emilian-Romagnolo, Neapolitan and Sicilian.

Religion[edit]

Religion in Italy[45]
Religion Percent
Christianity
83.3%
None
12.4%
Islam
3.7%
Buddhism
0.2%
Hinduism
0.1%
Other religions
0.3%

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,[46] 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,[47] .

Most Italians believe in God, or a form of a spiritual life force. According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005:[48] 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[edit]

The Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, which has the biggest brick dome in the world,[49][50] and is considered a masterpiece of Italian architecture.

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.[51]

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, Raphael 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,[52] and is the country with the greatest number of Roman Catholic churches per capita.[53]

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

In the 20th century, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostalism, non-denominational Evangelicalism, and Mormonism were the fastest-growing Protestant 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,[54] 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%),[55] 30,000 Waldensians,[56] 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).[57]

Other religions[edit]

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 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[58] forming 1.6 percent of population; independent estimates put the Islamic population in Italy anywhere from 0.8 million[59] to 1.5 million.[60] 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,[61] 70,000 Hindus, and 50,000 Buddhists.[62] There are an estimated some 4,900 Bahá'ís in Italy in 2005.[63]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Italian: 92%, other European (mostly Romanian, Albanian, Ukrainian and others) 5%, North African (mostly Moroccan) 1.5%, others 2.5%.[64]

Historically the ethnicity of the Italian people was mainly made of romanized autochthonous Italics and Gauls, with additions of Germanic populations (like Longobards) and -in very small amounts- of other bordering people (like Slovenes, Austrians, Albanians, etc..)[citation needed].

Genetics[edit]

Genealogical tree of Y chromosome haplogroups with main Italian ones highlighted in green

Approximately half of Italian males belong to the Y-DNA haplogroup R1b which is standard amongst most west European populations. According to data found through different sources, samples, and studies by Eupedia,[65] the percentages of Y-dna haplogroups observed were :

  • R1 (51.5% : 49% R1b and 2.5% R1a)
  • J (20% : 18% J2 and 2% J1)
  • E1b1b (11%)
  • G (7%)
  • I (6.5% : 2.5% I1, 3% I2 + I2a and 1% I2b)
  • T (4%)

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ In fertility rates, 2.1 and above is a stable population and have been marked blue, 2 and below leads an aging population and the result is that the population reduces.
  1. ^ According to Mitrica, an October 2005 Romanian report estimates that 1,061,400 Romanians are living in Italy, constituting 37% of 2.8 million immigrants in that country[27] but it is unclear how the estimate was made, and therefore whether it should be taken seriously.

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External links[edit]