The demographic oblivion of Europe

In the 14th century the plague wiped out 80 percent of the Italian population. In the 21st century it is disappearing by choice. Op-ed.

Giulio Meotti‏ ,

Italy
Italy
iStock

Ten years ago I wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal with a fairly eloquent title: "Italy, R.I.P.". It ended thus: "It is the mystery of one of the richest, most relaxed and peaceful societies in the world that opts for self-liquidation. By 2050, 60 percent of Italians will have no brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. In the 14th century the plague wiped out 80 percent of the Italian population. In the 21st century it is disappearing by choice. ”

The president of the Bureau of Italian National Statistics, Gian Carlo Blangiardo, raised the demographic alarm, almost unheard. Speaking at the Treviso Statistics Festival, Professor Blangiardo said: “We are experiencing a problematic situation. Ours is a potential country of 32 million inhabitants”. The average age of the population makes Italy the third oldest country in the world, together with one of the lowest birth rates on the planet and the percentage of retirees compared to workers that will rise from 37 percent today to 65 percent in 2040 (from 1 in 3 to 2 in 3). We are traveling on a giant Titanic."

Professor Blangiardo does not give numbers, but he does provide the numbers of a frightening crisis. These are the same contents in a study by the medical journal The Lancet: "Italy will halve in 2100". Thirty million fewer Italians.

Depopulation is already underway, even if it is not visible in the cities.

In Capracotta, Molise, a sign in red letters on an 18th century stone building reads: “Nursery school”. Now it is a hospice. Capracotta is dying and the population has gone from 5,000 to 800.

It is not a difficult calculation. Against 650,000 deaths each year, there are fewer than 400,000 births. Even leaving the trend like that, it's an annual net loss of 250,000 people. In eighty years there are 20 million fewer, not to mention that the number of deaths will increase exponentially. “In 2100 the Italian population will halve without immigration”, headlines Bloomberg.

Oh yes, immigration ...


In Turin there are already classes without Italian children.
The effects of mass immigration are already becoming dramatically visible in many Italian schools. In Turin there are already classes without Italian children.

Where are we at? In a beautiful book written with the journalist Marco Valerio Lo Prete, Antonio Golini, one of the leading Italian demographers, writes: “Not everyone has been so reluctant to think the unthinkable, that is, to think about the effects of a demographic implosion that in some areas of the planet came immediately after the explosion."

"I remember a private interview that Baudouin, king of the Belgians from 1951 to 1993, wanted to have with a small group of demographers and economists summoned to Brussels for a conference on the subject in the late 1980s. It was a dinner with an exchange of questions and very informal answers. Baldwin pointed his finger at the signs of decline in fertility and suddenly asked the diners: ‘Is there a point of no return?’. I didn't hold back, a spontaneous one came out: ‘Good question, sir!’"

"The soldier who by protocol was standing behind the King made a face: how could I allow myself to tell the sovereign that he had asked a beautiful and correct question? Perhaps the others up to that moment were less so? Bon ton aside, I was sincerely convinced that Baldwin had hit the mark. So much so that on the basis of the analysis I was doing at the time, I formulated a sort of ‘law of aging ment ‘: if a country has a percentage of over 60s equal to or greater than 30 per cent of the total population, then that country - barring massive immigration - reaches a demographic point of no return.”

Today that percentage in Italy is 22.7 percent of the population. In 2050 it will exceed the fateful threshold of 30 percent.

An Italian think tank, the “Fondazione Fare Futuro”, has predicted that due to mass migrations and the different birth rates between Italians and immigrants, by the end of the century half of the Italian population will be Islamic.

This demographic suicide should be Europe’s top priority. Alternatively, as Michel Onfray wrote, “we just have to sink with elegance.”



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