People in Italy
60 million people live in Italy. 71 percent of them
live in cities. A particularly large number of people
live in the north, in the region around Milan (Milano).
There is a lot of industry there and that is why many
Italians moved there from the south of the country
between 1951 and 1974. Other centers are Rome and
Naples. The population density is quite high with 200
inhabitants per square kilometer.
92 percent of the population of Italy are Italians.
The rest have immigrated from other countries. These
come mainly from Romania, Albania and Morocco. Then come
China, Ukraine and the Philippines as countries of
origin. The number of foreigners living in Italy has
been increasing since the 1990s. Conversely, many
Italians also live abroad, most of them in Argentina or
Germany, others in Switzerland, France and Brazil.
Every woman in Italy has an average of 1.47 children.
The population has aged in the last few decades, but the
birth rate has been rising again for several years.
Nevertheless, 22 percent of the population is older than
65 years. The average age is 46.5 years.
Life expectancy is high. It is currently 85.3 years
for women and 79.8 years for men. This puts Italy in
17th place worldwide (Germany ranks 37th).
Languages in Italy
The official language in Italy is Italian. There are
also several regional official languages. German and
Ladin are spoken in the Trentino-South Tyrol region.
French is spoken in the Aosta Valley and Slovenian in
the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. All of these regions
are located in northern Italy in the border regions with
Austria, France and Switzerland as well as Slovenia.
Other languages are spoken by smaller minorities.
These include, for example, Albanian, Furlan (language
in Friuli), Greek (in Apulia and Calabria) and Sardinian
Italian is one of the Romance languages. It is thus
related to Spanish, Portuguese and French. The Romance
languages developed from Latin, more precisely from
spoken Latin, which differed from written Latin. The
minorities in Italy also usually speak Italian, which
they then learn as a second language.
You probably know some Italian words, for example
spaghetti. This word clearly shows that a g is
pronounced like g when followed by an h. A g before e or
i is pronounced like dsch. It is similar with c: It is
either pronounced like k or (before e and i) like ch.
The word gnocchi is pronounced like njocki, because
gn is pronounced like nj. It is similar with gl: it
becomes lj, for example figlio (son) is pronounced like
filjo. Sch is pronounced like sk.
Can you think of more Italian words?
Religions in Italy
The majority of the people - 85 percent - belong to
the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church has
its center in the Vatican within Rome. Its head, the
Pope, has his seat here. Italy is a country dominated by
Minorities of the population are
supporters of the Orthodox Church (1.1 million people),
Jehovah's Witnesses (250,000), Protestants (550,000) and
Muslims (1.3 million). However, several million profess
no faith at all.