Italy set to record over 700,000 deaths this year, highest since 1944

Italy set to register highest annual death toll since world war two.

Italy is on track to record more than 700,000 deaths this year, the highest level since 1944 during world war two, according to estimates by national statistics agency ISTAT.

"It can be deduced that the high death toll is linked to the impact of covid-19," ISTAT president Gian Carlo Blangiardo said on 15 December, adding that the figure was "an estimate, because the year is not over yet."

"This is a worrying level because the last time something like this happened was in 1944 when we were in the midst of world war two," Blangiardo said on Italy's state television broadcaster RAI.

Blangiardo said that Italy registered 647,000 deaths in 2019, as reported by Italian news agency ANSA.

A new report issued by ISTAT on 15 December reveals that Italy's population has fallen and aged further, despite an increase in foreign nationals whose number rose by 43,480 last year to 5,039,637.

ISTAT recorded 59,641,488 people resident in Italy at the end of 2019, a drop of around 175,000 compared to the end of previous year, 2018.

This puts Italy's population at the end of last year roughly in line with that of 2011, ANSA reports, however in the intervening years the average age of the population has risen from 43 to 45.

The ISTAT report was issued the same day that Italy's health ministry registered 846 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last 24 hours.