Italy: Basta to Bambini

Basta to Bambini

How many children are enough? For Italian women between 15 and 49, the average number these days is 1.3, one of the world's lowest fertility rates and especially remarkable for a nominally Roman Catholic country.

At this rate, according to the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau, a private data-gathering organization, Italy's population will decline from today's 57.6 million to 55.9 million by the year 2020.

Analysts attribute the decrease to growing interest among women in pursuing careers, limited availability of full-time day-care services and a fast-rising cost of living. Other factors include housing shortages in the cities and the 1978 legalization of...

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