The population of Italy rose by almost 380,000 between 2005 and 2006, largely due to the influx of foreigners coming to live in the country. The report by national statistics organization Istat reveals that the population of Italy totalled 58,751,711 in 2005, rising to 59,131,287 in 2006, representing an increase of 0.6 per cent.

However, only a very small part of the increase (2,118 people) can be attributed to natural population movement, or the number of babies born in the country once the number of deaths occurring in the same 12-month period has been deducted.

According to the Istat report, foreigners coming to live in Italy were responsible for a boost of 222,410 people, while the remaining 155,048 were the result of corrections made to the national census made in 2001.