At the last census (2011), the resident population was 59,433,744, reaching the figure of 60,782,668 in 2014. (ISTAT data) and reiterating a slowdown in growth that is now more than twenty years old. The coastal and flat areas are confirmed as those with the highest concentration and, in general, the Italy it is still one of the European countries with the highest density (201 residents / km2). At the end of 2013 the hierarchy of the regional distribution of the population did not change, with Lombardy in first place (9,973,397 residents); the only notable exception is the overtaking of Lazio (5,870,451 residents) over Campania (5,869,965 residents) for second place, mainly following an acceleration of internal and international immigration, starting from 2000, in the region Lazio. The profile that emerges is that of an increasingly aging country (average age of 44.4 years and life expectancy of 82.5 years, estimated in 2014) and supported in its generational turnover above all by the presence of foreigners. In particular, the old-age index, that is the ratio between the elderly population (aged 65 and over) and the younger population (up to 14 years), reached a value of 154.1 on 1 January 2014 (20, 8% of the population is over 65), impacting on the structural dependency index, which sees the inactive population increasingly majority (54.6% as of January 1, 2014, compared to 48.4% in 2001). The population under the age of 14, again as of 1 January 2014, showed a slight increase (8.4 million), representing 14% of the total. As for some decades, even in recent years, the Italian demographic crisis can be attributed to the trend of the natural movement. The birth rate has, in fact, been lower than the mortality continuously since 1993 and in 2014 the gap has grown even more: against a birth rate of 8.4 ‰ (the lowest ever recorded, with Liguria at 6.9 ‰), the mortality rate was 9.8 ‰. The negative balance affected almost all regions also in 2013, with the exception of Trentino-Alto Adige (the only region that reaches 10 ‰ in the birth rate, with a balance of +1231) and Campania (9.15 ‰ and a balance of +551). On this aspect, the gap between the South and the rest of Italy seems to have been filled with a slight improvement in the birth rate of the central-northern regions (1.45 children per woman in 2012), which ended up overtaking the southern ones, in continuous decline (1.34). In general, the slight recovery in fertility seen since the 1990s (but still far from the replacement value of 2.1) – due to the significant contribution of fertility of immigrant women (in 2012 it was 2.37 children per woman) – underwent a settlement (1.39 children per woman in 2013), after the value of 1.46 was reached in 2010 (the highest value since 1984). The photograph of the last census shows more and more individualistic family types, with the increase in the number of families without a nucleus (8.3 million) and the increase in the number of couples without children (almost 5 million). 1) – due to the significant contribution of the fertility of immigrant women (in 2012 it was 2.37 children per woman) – has undergone a settlement (1.39 children per woman in 2013), after the value of 1.46 (highest value since 1984). The photograph of the last census shows more and more individualistic family types, with the increase in the number of families without a nucleus (8.3 million) and the increase in the number of couples without children (almost 5 million). 1) – due to the significant contribution of the fertility of immigrant women (in 2012 it was 2.37 children per woman) – has undergone a settlement (1.39 children per woman in 2013), after the value of 1.46 (highest value since 1984). The photograph of the last census shows more and more individualistic family types, with the increase in the number of families without a nucleus (8.3 million) and the increase in the number of couples without children (almost 5 million).
The growth of the foreign population was particularly significant at the end of the new millennium, doubling in the census count between 2001 and 2011 (4,027,627), to reach, according to ISTAT, 4.37 million in 2013. According to the estimates of the IDOS Study and Research Center, the foreigners regularly present would be 4.9 million (and about 600,000 illegal immigrants, according to the ISMU Foundation, Initiatives and Studies on MUlti-ethnicity), thus representing 8.1% of the total population. In the last decade, the distribution of these presences has accentuated the specific weight of the northern regions (30% of the total) and of the central ones (25%), with Lombardy in the lead (1,129,185 presences), followed by Lazio, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, all regions with over half a million foreigners. There are now 27 provinces where migratory pressure exceeds 10%. It is a predominantly urban phenomenon, with a large presence in cities where the demand for unskilled activities rejected by the Italian workforce is concentrated (construction, personal services, small businesses), but also in small municipalities the incidence of migrants it is significant, a presence which, in some cases, enlivens the reality of the hinterland destined for demographic desertification.
The socio-cultural profile of Italy is therefore rapidly changing, as evidenced by the one million minors present (of which 802,785 enrolled in school in the 2013-14 school year) and the 11% incidence of foreign workers on the country’s wealth. The resumption of internal mobility from the South to other regions is a phenomenon that has been reported for several years by SVIMEZ (Association for the development of industry in the South): in the period 1995-2012 2.3 million people left. Even in the presence of recessive conditions in the central-northern regions, internal migrations have not decreased in recent years, reaching 202,250 transfers in 2012. This is a phenomenon with selective characteristics: a small number compared to the migrations of the 1950-70s, but it concerns young people with a higher level of education and with a significant female component.
The progressive and in some ways chaotic urban development of recent decades confirms the irregular distribution of the residents, signaling the growth of the urban population (68.5% in 2012), in the face of a still marked administrative fragmentation (according to the latest census, 70.5% of Italian municipalities have a population of less than 5000 residents). The main cities are experiencing a progressive decline in residents, with the significant exception of Turin, which continues to gain population. Nonetheless, the accentuation of the urbanization process goes beyond the boundaries of the central municipalities and is directed towards ever larger trans-municipal areas. In this sense, with a view to the reform of local autonomies, ten metropolitan cities were established in 2015 (Milan, Rome, Naples, Turin, Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Bari, Venice, Reggio Calabria), identifying its borders with the perimeter of the related provinces. This reform re-proposes the theme of interdependencies in metropolitan areas (introduced nominally in 1990). With the choice of the central government to create ‘metropolitan cities’, if the complex processes of local political negotiation are eliminated, however, perimeters have been created that do not correspond – if not in rare cases – to the functional relational and spatial densities that characterize the Italian territory today.