Infuriating countless women (and men too), Italy’s “Fertility Day” had been scheduled for September 22. But the uproar was so loud that they canceled.
People were angry because the ad campaign ignored the real reasons for not having babies. Its planners seemed to forget that Italy’s unemployment rate for people under 25 is close to 40%. They also failed to mention that many working women sign undated resignation letters that eliminate a firm’s firing penalties for pregnancy. And no one directly addressed Italy’s sluggish economy. At zero for the second quarter of 2016, their GDP growth rate has been anemic.
Saying, “Beauty has no age. But fertility does,” this is one of the ads:
So, why have a baby? Because of Italy’s aging population.
The Demographic Disaster Seesaw
Italy’s problem is a demographic seesaw with an elderly cohort increasingly “outweighing” the workers at the other end. Already at 21.7% of the population, the aged group is living longer. Meanwhile at 1.4 babies per woman, Italy’s fertility rate will produce an inadequate number of workers.
Our Bottom Line: Age Dependency Ratios
Including Germany and Greece, other EU nations share Italy’s demographic problems. On the following map, an age dependency ratio–comparing the elderly to the working age population–is our metric. The darker blue countries are the oldest:
Destined to rise, Italy’s 35.1 dependency ratio is one reason they almost had a fertility day.
And finally, I could not resist sharing this video from Denmark where they too are encouraging baby making. Because the video is so politically incorrect and somewhat racy, you might think it inappropriate to watch. However, it is good for a smile.
My sources and more: Whether looking at a Washington Post description of the “Do It For Denmark” campaign, the Quartz article on Italy’s catastrophic fertility initiative, or statistical sources, the resources about the expanding aging demographic in the developed economies are varied, occasionally fun, and sometimes worrisome. Please note that this post was sllghtly edited to improve clarity after it was published.