Italy’s Mini Baby Boom

by Nicole Martinelli
posted Thu 11 Sept. 8:24 am

Northern Italy’s hospitals are overflowing with a bumper crop of newborn bambini after decades of low birth rates. Milan alone counted a record 2,000 stork visits in July and August, an 8% jump over 2002. After similar reports came in from the provinces of Venice and Piedmont, officials started scrambling to plan for this unexpected mini-boom in births.

“It’s an exciting piece of news,” said Dr. Guido Moro of Macedonio Melloni hospital in Milan. “The media bombarded us all summer long with the tragic news of elderly death rates caused by the heat — but there are hospitals very, very busy giving life.”

It’s a step in what may be a small turnaround in Italy’s dismal birth rates. The last data available, 2001, also showed a slight uptick — for the first time in almost a decade, the number of births were higher than deaths in the Bel Paese. The profile of less traditional mamma also factors in — officials said more mothers today are closer to age 40 than 30 and many are having children with a second partner, while foreign-born mothers account for 20% of the total.

Hard to say whether economic aid or the more or less constant pleas from the Vatican are having a significant effect on increasing Italian offspring. Towns throughout the country now offer ‘social subsidies’ that grow with the family. A typical program offers cash for the first five years of a child’s life, doubling for every sibling added to the family.

Some of the more whimsical initiatives honoring precious newborns are bound to cause trouble if the trend keeps up, especially if it doubles as predicted by 2013. Towns like Moretta, where the main square lights up for each new citizen could become a disco-strobe disaster. Or perhaps there’s a full-time job for a bard in Monza, where each family is sent a personalized poem marking the event.

The mayor of Venice is taking a more pragmatic approach to the first flood of babies La Serenissima has seen in decades. In a special conference, Paolo Costa congratulated local officials for holding up ‘under emergency’ but that it was time to plan for this new and rapidly growing population.©1999-2003

Related resources:

Bilingual Baby: Italian
Italian e-cards for new babies….

6 thoughts on “Italy’s Mini Baby Boom

  1. Sheesh! What is wrong with you Italians?! You inherit one of the most beautiful cultures the world has ever seen and you jeopardize it by refusing to breed.

    No offense, but I think if my ancestors had known how sterile the descendants of their contemporaries were going to prove to be, they would have stayed in Florence and Sicily rather than leave for America, thus turning their nation and culture over to a bunch of incompetents!

    Sorry. Feeling a little fiery this afternoon…

  2. People here have not been incompetent. More like, thay have decided that thay want to have a good time befor having a family. You will see the birth rate climb soon. Everything in Italy, is not what is seems. As you would find out if you came and lived here. Incompetent? You throw that word at 56 million people! I am english but have lived here for 20 years. Once you find out reasons, you start to understand better.

  3. It?s not incompetent! It?s very clearly that Italians are smart and don?t “put” children into this world without having a good and stabile home for them. I?m not Italian but I?ve lived here for a very long time and I share their thoughts about children all the way. I would never have children if I couldn?t give them the best. Don?t throw a word like incompetent over people in a country without look up the facts first and I?m sure that you wouldn?t say a thing like that…

  4. You say that Italians want a good and stable home for their children. All well and good, but it is my understanding that the number of single-child families in Italy has skyrocketed in recent years. It has also been my experience that only children do not ever develop as fully as do those with brothers and sisters, but rather remain “little emperors” (as they say in China) their whole lives. My point is that if Italians want what is best for their children, they should provide them with brothers and sisters, as sibling interaction is a formative, positive and necessarry part of childhood. Too many Italians do not. This suggests to me that the low, low low birth rate in Italy is due at least as much to the selfishness of Italian parents as it is to concern for their children.

  5. odd..this baby boom happens 9 months after the Italian World Cup Victory. A connection? Nah…

  6. Yes it’s strange that even in the paese we’re living in (the Oltrepo Pavese, ) which seems to consist only of old people recently several baby’s have been born, even of our neighbour. Is it a trend?

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