In this chapter a long-term historical analysis shows the different implications that the demographic dividend might entail for a country, such as Italy, that completed its demographic transition at the beginning of 1970s. The transitional pathways observed in the four Italian geographical areas (North-west, North-east, Centre, and the so-called Mezzogiorno corresponding to the South and the two main Italian Islands) lead to an interpretation of the different economic developments that have always characterised the different regions of the country. Through the examination of some of the great changes that took place during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which determined the passage from a rural society to the start of a progressive industrialisation, it can be seen how demographic transition has played an important role in these epochal changes.
- Human Capital
- Human Development Index
- Demographic Transition
- Dependency Ratio
- Internal Mobility
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North-west, North-east, Centre and the so-called Mezzogiorno corresponding to the Italian Southern regions together with and the two main Islands (Sicilia and Sardegna).
According to Thomas R. Malthus (1798), an uncontrolled population growth leads to economic stagnation. More specifically, the Malthusian assumption is that every improvement in living standard – that is to say increasing in per capita income – has a positive effect on the population growth.
As resulting from Population and Housing Census data, during the years 1871–1921 the age structure of the Italian regions was very similar. Since the huge outward migration flows that started in 1876 involved the entire population of the country, it caused no relevant change in the age structure. Migration-related processes began to differentiate the Italian geographical areas in the years between the two World Wars. For this reason, by the 1931 Population and Housing Census the first differences in the population age structure had emerged and the demographic bonus of Mezzogiorno seemed to shift massively towards the Northern regions. At this stage the demographic choices of the fascist regime, the great economic depression and the reversal of trend affecting international migration policies accelerated the internal mobility, thus partially reducing outward migration flows (Audenino and Tribassi (2008) (For an in-depth analysis of Italian migration flows see paragraph 7.5).
The General Fertility Rate (GFR) showed in Fig.11 was calculated in order to cover the whole Italian demographic transition period (from 1871 to 1971). The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) illustrated both in Table 7.3 and in Fig.12 covers the years from 1952 to 2013 when official statistical sources were made available to produce more refined indicators.
The average number of live births per woman required to keep the population size constant if there are no migration flows (inward or outward).
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (known as the World Bank) made a loan to the Cassa del Mezzogiorno of $10 million in 1951 and another of $7 million between 1953 and 1959 aimed at: addressing the gap in the southern territories and initiating a major work of productive modernisation; stimulating growth in demand through investments in the South; achieving financial stability conditions (Lepore 2013).
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English text revision by Laura Peci, technical expert of the Italian National Institute of Statistics – ISTAT.
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Pace, R., Mignolli, N. (2016). The Impact of Sub-national Demographic Transitions on Demographic Dividends in Italy. In: Pace, R., Ham-Chande, R. (eds) Demographic Dividends: Emerging Challenges and Policy Implications. Demographic Transformation and Socio-Economic Development, vol 6. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32709-9_7
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