Concerns about Italy's birth rate
Around 435,000 babies were born in Italy in 2019 - only half as many as 45 years ago and the country's lowest birth rate since 1861. With the number of births at just 1.29 children per woman, the country is now at the bottom of the list in Europe, according to new data from ISTAT. Commentators look enviously at France.
Reverse the trend with far-sighted policy
In Corriere della Sera sociologist Mauro Magatti calls on Italy to finally set an example for other countries in family policy:
“The conditions in which our young people live - in terms of work (low wages, persistent precariousness and difficult career paths, especially for women of childbearing age), housing (persistent overpricing on the property market) and services (not enough kindergartens and those that exist are too expensive) - make the decision to start a family more difficult. ... An international comparison - above all with France, where a far-sighted policy has driven the fertility rate back up to 2.01 children per woman - clearly shows that only targeted and long-term measures can solve this problem.”
France is the role model
Paris correspondent Anais Ginori makes a concrete comparison with France in La Repubblica:
“Pregnant women in France quickly find themselves surrounded by hard-working officials who compete to offer expectant mothers a complete overview of the various services. ... In Italy, the search for a kindergarten place alone can drive one to despair. In France, families know that they can count on a wide range of services, including crèches, home crèches and other childcare facilities. The system fundamentally changes the mentality. While an Italian woman may sometimes be considered a bad mother because she wants to go back to work six months after the birth of her child, most French women only need three months maternity leave before returning to work, and no one condemns them for that.”