Low Birth Rates in Italy
It has been reported by Global Agenda Magazine that Italy
has the second lowest birth rate in Europe and the West. They
are second only to Spain. Though Italy has an age old tradition
of Catholics and is the center of Catholic Church, it is odd
to note that the birth rate is only one single child per female.
Starting in 2003, the Italian government offered 1,000 euros
to every women giving birth to a second child as a way to
counter the trend. A Sunday Telegraph article in April 2004
compared Italys birth rate with Swedens which is 50 percent
Other traditionally Catholic nations, like Ireland and France,
have the highest and second highest birth rates in Europe.
Even Sweden has a 50% higher birth rate in comparison to Italy.
These increased numbers may be due to better government-controlled
child and health care facilities as well as incentives for
families that have more children.
In contrast to the situation in Italy, some other catholic
countries in Europe such as France and Ireland have a high
rate of child birth. The reason for this may be attributed
to the fact that the government is more lavish in funding
health and child care. They are also offering better incentives
to families with more than one child.
It is a cause of concern that this trend will result in having
a large number of people who are old and there are only a
few people contributing gainfully to the society. This situation
is likely in countries like Russia, Japan, Italy and other
eastern European countries. This
phenomenon of low birth rates is being studied by people who
study social and public policy in Europe.
One possible line of thinking is that in the earlier days
a large number of children were considered indispensable to
help in the farms or run the family business. It was also
expected that they would look after the aging parents. It
was felt that having more children was a sort of insurance
for the old age. But nowadays, people when they grow old,
are less and less dependent on their children. The provision
of pension has contributed to this kind of thinking.
They also feel that since people have to pay higher taxes
to support these kinds of social programmes, they have lower
disposable incomes and less money to meet the expenses of
bringing up more children.
Another cause for the declining birth rate is the fact that
more women are working full-time during their childbearing
years. Child-care programmes of different countries vary.
For example, Norway has better financial and infrastructure
facilities as compared to Italy.
Norwegian day-care centers are government funded and mothers
have the option to work part-time, without affecting their
position at work. They also get longer maternity leave.
It is important to seriously start thinking as to how the
people of today in Italy will be supported when they grow
old. Nevertheless this problem of low birth rate is definitely
better than the problem that comes with very high population
About the Author:
Desri Dillinaco is the occupier of
Italy Inc. which is the premier resource for Italy information.
For more information go to: http://www.fgritaly.com