Dropping Birth Rates in Italy

I found this article extremely interesting, after our recent discussion on the decline of birth rates in Germany and the Soviet Unions. Today, such a decline in birthrate has been noticed in Italy, as reported by  The Wallstreet Journal and Slate Magazine. According to statistics, at the current rate Italy is producing children, by 2050, “ there will be 263 elders for every 100 young people, which means retirees are in big trouble.” 

The reason for this decline? That is exactly what I find fascinating! It is the same reasons which were discussed in class ?? women in Nazism. The article reports 

“Italian women often find it daunting to balance work against the traditionally demanding expectations for mothers in Italy. Surveys consistently find that Italian men help less at home than their counterparts in other countries do, and that Italian mothers are painstaking in their approach to child care, to the point of hand-washing and ironing baby clothes” 

 Here we seem to have the same problem of a daunting standard applied to mothers, which in the end scares away potential mothers from reproducing. Additionally, I find it interesting that the role of raising the child in Italy seems to be entirely the burden of the mother. Further, the WSJ reports: 

“The protracted economic crisis has worsened obstacles Italian women have long faced in starting a family—from lack of child-care centers to less-than-helpful partners. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the rate of childlessness among Italian women born in 1965—those turning 50 next year—is nearly 10 percentage points higher than it is among those born in 1960.”

In Italy, it seems to be a problem of the lack of state helped, coupled with the lack of family help has left women expected to wash dirty diapers on their own. I find it interesting in Italy’s case, neither the state nor the fathers seem eager to step up and help prepare for the next generation … of which, it appears, they will have very few. 


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