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Demographics of Italy

Italy is largely homogeneous linguistically and religiously but is diverse culturally, economically, and politically. Italy has the fifth-highest population density in Europe--about 200 persons per square kilometer (490 per square mile). Minority groups are small, the largest being the German-speaking people in South Tyrol (1991: 287.503 german and 116.914 italian speaking) and the Slovenians around Trieste. Other groups comprise small communities of Albanian, Greek, Ladino, and French origin. Although Roman Catholicism is the majority religion--85% of native-born citizens are nominally Catholic--all religious faiths are provided equal freedom before the law by the constitution.

Italy's Cultural Contributions
Europe's Renaissance period began in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. Literary achievements--such as the poetry of Petrarch, Tasso, and Ariosto and the prose of Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and Castiglione--exerted a tremendous and lasting influence on the subsequent development of Western civilization, as did the painting, sculpture, and architecture contributed by giants such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, and Michelangelo.

The musical influence of Italian composers Monteverdi, Palestrina, and Vivaldi proved epochal; in the 19th century, Italian romantic opera flourished under composers Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccini. Contemporary Italian artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, composers, and designers contribute significantly to Western culture.

Population: 56,305,568 (Jan 2002 census) - 27,260,953 males and 29,044,615 females, presence: 56,133,039

Families: 21,503,088 (55,920,840 italians in a familiar status, 2,60 italians per family)

(Old data)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 14% (male 4,220,973; female 3,977,962)
15-64 years: 68% (male 19,413,219; female 19,596,668)
65 years and over: 18% (male 4,297,962; female 6,127,543) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.09% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 9.13 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 9.99 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.03 years
male: 75.85 years
female: 82.41 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.18 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Italian(s)
adjective: Italian

Ethnic groups: Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovenian-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)

Religions: predominantly Roman Catholic with mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community


Italian (official);
German (official In South Tyrol, 1991: 287.503 german and 116.914 italian speaking);
French (small French speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region; standard french is official only in the Valle d'Aosta, but the spoken dialects of this region and of some northern valleys of Piedmont are precisely French-Provencal, which reveals some differences from pure french).
Slovenian (Slovenian-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area).
Sardinian (in the island of Sardinia), now partly official;
Ladin (official in parts of South Tyrol, the Dolomite mountains, between Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto), connected with swiss Romansh;
Friulian (in the Friuli region), presents similarities with ladin.
Occitan (in the southern Piedmont valleys)
Catalan (in the town of Alghero, Sardinia).
Albanian (villages in Calabria and Sicily);
Greek (ancient dialects in villages of Calabria).

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98% (1998)
male: NA%
female: NA%

See also : Italy