Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Italian Population Problems

In “Our family units are shrinking too fast,” The Irish Times (2007) writes that the birth rate in Italy is lower than the average of the world. Now the Italian government is facing the problems that the population in the country is not balanced; in other words, Italy now has too many in the old generation but very few newborn children. The statistic shows that Italy will lose 25 percent of its natural population by 2060, which means Italy will not keep their country with its abundance of labor force. It will become a serious problem in Italy. As we know, the three main elements to support one country are politics, economy, and military affairs. However, these three elements are all based on the foundation of “people.” If there is one country which has few citizens, it will be difficult for the country to maintain the supremacy of their citizens. From the beginning of the problem, the Italian government should realize why most Italian women are reluctant to give births. Via the reasons of why the women do not want to get pregnant, the Italian government will be more likely to understand and find the solution for population problems. Recently, there is one town in Italy that, in order to encourage the female residents to have the children, they will provide huge amount of money for the children (The Irish Time, 2007).

In “Say Goodbye to Europe” Freund, M. states, “Italy’s population could shrink by one-third by the middle of the century” (2007, p. 15). In this article, the author tells us that there are more and more couples because of economic and family reasons that do not want to have children. According to this, most of the newborn children in the European countries are not the same races as the rest of the country. This could lead to another population crisis in Italy, which means it will be hard to maintain the original culture and customs. Besides, Italy has its own special problem between south and north. From the article, “Ever older, south ever poorer” (2007), the author also mentioned that inter-migration in Italy makes the poverty gap bigger. The Northern part of Italy is closer to the European continent. The closer to the European continent, the more job opportunities the people may get.

First, government should improve the situation of low birth rate. According to “Our family units are shrinking too fast” (2007, p. 15), the number of the birth rate in Italy is 1.33 children per women in one family. A country needs 2.1 children per woman to ensure the population numbers remain steady. In this situation, they should provide the following ways to help the situation be solved. They should realize the reason the women do not want to have babies. For instance, the economy might influence the women when they have babies, they will need time to take care of the children and buy many new things for the newcomers. If the women want to keep working, they will need to hire the nannies. They will spend the extra money to hire one nanny or mothers shall quit their jobs to look after their children. To illustrate, to raise a kid until he is eighteen, the parents should spend at least 5 million US dollars. It could be a huge amount for a middle-class family. The couple may think that they will prefer not to have any kids and save money to raising kids. Besides, the improvement of medical skills makes women stay safe to have the abortion. It is the indirect way to encourage women not to have baby if they do not. The result is that to have an abortion becomes common in Italy. It makes women there have more chances to choose whether they are going to have children or not. Nevertheless, the government used to educate the people to have the birth control in Italy. The Italian women could take the birth control pills if they want. All they had to do, was to go to see the doctors and ask for the prescription then every woman could go to the pharmacy and get the birth control pills. It is a good policy to protect women’s right; however, it could be also a reason Italy has a low birth rate. Now, the government should educate people and encourage people to have more kids. The government should provide new policies such as welfare for the pregnant women.

The government should reform the pension system in order to help the aging generation. Since Italy is the greyest country in the whole European Union, the government should help the most of the population, the aging people, in Italy. There are more advantages to prolonging the working years. In the article, “Row brewing over pension reform” (2007), the author mentioned that the Italian government would save about 13 billion Euros per year if the retirement age was prolonged from 57 to 60. In other words, most of the old people are healthy enough to keep working even when they are 60. Actually, the average for the aging Italian is 78.3 for men and 84 for women (D’emilio, 2007). If people could retire later, it would truly help the government save money. The more workers work, the more pension they would probably get when they are retired. “There are still too many people today living on insufficient pensions” (D’emilio, 2007). As a result, letting people work longer, and save much money at the bank account will help the old people not to live on with the insufficient pensions.

The Italian government should teach other immigrants to make them become new Italian. The immigrants are the main source to maintain their population; however, it’s not appropriate for a country to maintain their original race and culture. Here is the problem; more and more different races in Italy will become “real Italians.’ The Italians are afraid that they cannot preserve the pure and real Italian culture after a century. It is possible that many kids who are from the intercultural families may not get good grades at school because one of their parents may not speak or write in Italian. One solution is that, the government should encourage Italians to have intercultural relationships with the immigrants. For instance, the government could set up a school for those immigrants who cannot read or write in Italian, trying to assimilate the two different cultures into one Italian culture. Moreover, every Italian should be open-minded. Even though people are different colors; they could all be new Italians. There is a town in Italy that offers couples EUR 10,000 for each newborn baby. They are going to raise their birth rate through this beneficial policy (The Irish Time, 2007).

Via population problems, the economy may be in crisis, in which Italians should support their country. As I mentioned before, there are three main elements to support the country which are politics, economy and military. Three things are all supported from the citizens. In other words, if there is one country with territory and sovereignty but without any citizens, then, we would not call it a country. Every country needs many laborers to support one’s country’s economy. If the country has many workers, they are more likely to lower the price of the products. Because of the cheap human resources, the company can save the actual cost from the low pay of their laborers. Besides, people would be happier and more willing to go to work if their salary is enough for their living. In contrast, the low population may lead the company out of workers; all they could do is find the workers from other countries or they will set their factories in other countries. It will not only reduce the working opportunities to Italian people, but also push the company to put their funds in other areas. All in all, it will lead the Italian economy into depression. The best way to solve the economic problem is to encourage people to have more children and prolong the retirement ages.

In conclusion, Italian people are having fewer children than before; they are going to face a population crisis which includes lack of labor, losing the culture and the old generation is leading a poor life after retirement. Having more and more of the aging generation and fewer and fewer children is the most serious population issue in Italy. They will not have enough people to support the whole country until they have abundant people. The Italian government should legislate the new policies to encourage and protect women having more children and reform the pension system in order to assure that the old generation will have sufficient money for the rest of their lives.


D’emilio, F. (2007, July 7). Italy’s Aged Turn to Foreigners for Care. Associated Press. Retrieved on July 10, 2007 from LexisNexis.
Ever older, south ever poorer. Agence France Presse (2007, May 24). Retrieved on July 10, 2007 from LexisNexis.
Freund, M. (2007, January 14). Say Goodbye to Europe. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved on July 10, 2007 from LexisNexis.
Our Family Units are Shrinking Too Fast. (2007, February 1). The Irish Times. Retrieved on July 10, 2007 from LexisNexis.
Row Brewing Over Pension Reform. (2007, May 9). ANSA. Retrieved on July 15, 2007 from LexisNexis.

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