Italy's birth rate is lowest in 160 years

Birth rate in Italy hits new record low.

Italy's declining birth rate is in the news again with the latest data from the national statistic office ISTAT citing the "negative effects" of the covid-19 pandemic as a significant factor.

The birth rate is the lowest since records began in 1861, with the figure falling for a 12th year in a row.

In the first nine months of 2021 there were 12,500 fewer babies born in Italy than the same period the year before, according to new figures published on Tuesday.

In 2020 there were 404,892 babies born in Italy - down by about 15,000 on the year before - and 746,146 deaths registered, almost 112,000 more than in 2019.

The average number of children per woman living in Italy fell to 1.24 in 2020, with this rate even lower for Italian women - 1.17 - the lowest ever.

The highest number of births was recorded in Bolzano in the north (1.62) and the lowest on the island of Sardinia (0.94). 

In 2020 the average age at which Italian women had their first child rose to 31.4, three years older than in 1995.

The most popular name for boys in 2020 was once again Leonardo (followed by Francesco and Alessandro) and for girls - again - Sofia (followed by Giulia and Aurora).