Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is located in Southern Europe and bordered by France, Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland along the Alps. This famously boot-shaped country is the 5th most populous country in Europe and home to an estimated 2014 population of 60,923,964, only up slightly from the 2013 estimate of 60,891,838 and showing an average meager growth rate of just 0.10%.
Italy Population 2014
Italy's 2014 population of 60,923,964 makes it Europe's 5th most populous country, and the 23rd most populous in the world. In 2011, records showed its population was 60.62 million with a population density of 201 people per square kilometer (520 per square mile), which is higher than most countries in Western Europe.
Italy's population density is very uneven and the Po Valley is the most densely populated with almost half of the country's population. Other densely packed areas include the metropolitan areas of Naples and Rome. The Basilicata plateaus, the Alps and Apennines highlands and the island of Sardinia, meanwhile, have a very sparse population.
Italy experienced mass emigration from the end of the 19th century through the 1960's with nearly 750,000 Italians emigrating per year from 1898 to 1914. It's thought that this is the largest mass migration in contemporary times and led to a diaspora of 25 million Italians. Today, over 4 million Italian-born people live abroad.
By the late 1970's, however, Italy began to attract a great deal of foreign immigrants. It's estimated there are 4.6 million foreign residents in Italy today, which accounts for 7.5% of the total population. This includes about 500,000 children born in Italy to foreign nationals.
Official figures for Italy's population excludes illegal immigrants, as their numbers are hard to determine. Still, it's estimated their numbers are at 670,000 today, many of which are from Eastern Europe and North Africa.
There are also 1 million Romanian citizens officially registered in Italy, followed by Moroccans and Albanians with a population of half a million each.
The largest ethnic group in Italy is the Native Italian, comprising 96% of the population.
Largest Cities in Italy
The three largest cities in Italy include Rome (2.8 million), Milan (1.29 million) and Naples (959,000), although Naples has experienced a population drop below 1 million in the last decade. Rome is Italy's capital and home to 2.8 million people in 1,285 square kilometers (496 square miles), which makes it the 4th most populous city in the European Union within city limits. Its urban area is home to up to 3.8 million, but the Rome metropolitan area has a population of 4.2 million.
Rome has a rich history that spans over 2,500 years since it was founded in 753 BC. It's one of the oldest continuously occupied cities on the continent and is often referred to as "the Eternal City."
Milan, the fashion capital of the world, was first settled by Celts circa 400 BC, although it was eventually conquered by the Romans and became the capital of the Western Roman Empire. The city proper is home to 1.35 million people, but the urban area has a population of 5.2 million and is the 5th largest in the EU and the largest in the country. The Milan metropolitan region, meanwhile, has a population of 8 million.
Italy Population Growth
Italy's population is expected to start a decline over the next 35 years with a death rate exceeding the birth rate, as well as negative migration. Currently, Italy's foreign residents are outpacing the country's population growth with a foreign population that grew 7.4% in 2012, compared to a population growth of just 0.5%.
Italy is a rapidly aging country, and in 2010 a full 20% of its population was 65 or older, with just 13.5% under the age of 15.
With a very slow population growth and projections that the country will soon go into decline, a great deal of work is needed for Italy to hold its place in the world economic order and grow. It's currently projected that Italy's population growth will be -20% by 2050, at which point its population will be under 59 million.