– “Italy is disappearing” – Elon Musk isn’t the only one worried
Record low: Italy reports fewer births This worries the billionaire Tesla founder – and arch-conservative family minister.
Mark Pease, Rome
Italy is very important to Elon Musk. It may come as a surprise that one of the world’s richest men came from South Africa and made his fortune in California. There he invested in emerging digital companies before instilling fear in the central “old industry” with his Tesla cars. Recently he has branched out into the blogging service Twitter. He also tweets about radical tweets and European countries. Only: “Italy is disappearing,” he posted, and yes, that’s what drives him.
That’s thanks to the latest population figures from the Italian statistics authority Istatt, and they really pack a punch: births have fallen below the 400,000 threshold for the first time since records began and are now set to nearly 393,000 in 2022. At 1, two children per woman, Italy lags far behind in international comparisons. The average age of Italians is now 46.6 years, and the trend is increasing. The number of people over 100 has tripled in 20 years.
Seven new-borns, but more than twelve deaths per thousand people—that kills energy, growth, and prosperity in the long run. The total population has long fallen below 60 and is now below 59 million: 58.85 million people – a banger. If the trend continues, Italy could shrink to 36.9 million in 2060.
Jobs are more valuable than offers
Elon Musk has been observing this for a long time, and most recently he had a key interlocutor. When he was received by Pope Francis last summer for a particularly privileged private audience, the men were very concerned, it was said later. No further details were given, but Musk may have said: I can serve as a role model, Holy Father. The 51-year-old now has at least nine children, four of whom were allowed to accompany the pope.
Musk also asked then-opposition politician Giorgia Meloni from Fratelli d’Italia: “If we continue like this, a society without children will collapse,” she opined. After he was elected head of government, he declared increasing the birth rate an “absolute priority” and appointed his arch-Catholic party friend Eugenia Rossella as Minister of Family Affairs, whose official title “Births” additionally proved.
Since then, Rosella has been singing the praises of the classic family. In response to the new figures, he has now announced that there will soon be more child benefits, tax breaks for families with children and an increase in paid parental leave, which fathers can also take advantage of.
However, international studies suggest that family policy is less likely to reverse this trend than labor market policy. More jobs, better wages and especially for more women and mothers: the new government has made little effort to create these jobs. Despite the fact that the female employment rate in Italy is around 50 percent, it is very low in international comparison.