GIOVENTU » Demographic Trap to add pressure to young Italians?

Demographic Trap to add pressure to young Italians?

Italy is getting close to what has been defined a “demographic trap”. The women born in the mid 80's, that is the would-be mothers, are less than the previous generation and very likely to have less children.

According to a prevision of the “Università Cattolica” in Milan, one woman out of five may not have children.


The new born in 2015 totalled 478,000,22,000 less than the minimum threshold to prevent the demographic downfall, (which is 500,000).

Not only are there 20% less women in the 30 to 34 years age group but also they will be giving birth to only one child each and some none at all.  


Things might be different only by inverting this trend, supporting maternity, female occupation and also fatherhood, that is allowing fathers to take time off for childcare.


According to experts the crucial point is the lack of an effective family policy. In Italy child care and care for the elderlies of the family is totally on the shoulders of women who often have to choose between work and family. 


Female unemployment in Italy is still 46 per cent of the total number of women and in the south is up to 80%. The problems are job instability, the lack of welfare measures and inadequate maternity cover on the work premises.  


Before having a child women often wait to become economically independent   but pregnancy it is still experienced by companies as an unsustainable cost and, therefore, discouraged. Women postpone their pregnancy as much as possible in order to keep their job and even if they dare to have a child they are paid less than men, and marginalised because the amount of hours required to work are not compatible with child care.


Cultural factors must also be considered, Italian women are nowadays living a historical contradiction: an old idea of the mother as the always present self-sacrificing figure in contrast with the need to realise themselves in their careers, now made even more difficult due to the lack of work opportunities.


Moreover, many couples postpone having children or renounce, because they think they should be able to provide their children with everything they consider necessary which is not just food and shelter, as in the past could have been, but means being able to pay for sports, language lessons and all the latest technology. Unfortunately this is not true for all Italians there are a great number who simply cannot afford to have children.


Giulia Lombardo

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