Rome is the capital of Italy and a special comune with a history that goes back over 2,500 years since its founding in 753 BC. This makes Rome, or the Eternal City, one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in all of Europe. The population of Rome in 2016 is estimated at 2,869,461 in the city limits.
In 2016, the population of Rome is estimated at 2,869,461, but this is only the city proper. The urban area has a population of 3.8 million, with up to 4.3 million living in the metropolitan area. The city proper has a density of 2,232 people per square kilometer (5,781/square mile).
Interestingly, Rome was once the largest city in the world during the reign of Emperor Augustus with a population of nearly 1 million, or about the size of London in the 19th century, when it was the world's largest city.
About 9.5% of Rome's population is non-Italian, with half the immigrant population having European origins, most notably Romanian, Ukrainian, Polish and Albanian, for a total of 4.7% of the population. The other 4.8% is comprised of immigrants with non-European origins, particularly Filipinos, Bangladeshis, Peruvians and Chinese.
The largest immigrant neighborhood is the Esquilino rione, which is often called Rome's Chinatown, despite the fact that its people come from more than 100 countries.
Rome also has a population of several hundred Romani gypsies who camp illegally along the outskirts of the town. There are estimated to be 8,000 homeless people in Rome, mostly non-Italian.
Vatican City is a sovereign city-state in a walled enclave inside the city of Rome with a population of about 800. It is the smallest internationally recognized independent state on earth and is completely separate from the city of Rome, despite being located in the city.
Rome Population History
According to legend, Rome was founded when Romulus and Remus (the twins suckled by a she-wolf) decided to build a city together but argued and Romulus killed Remus in 753 BC. This means the founding of Rome goes back to the very early days of civilization, although most historians agree the city was actually established in 625 BC. This settlement eventually became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, then the Roman Empire. During the time of Emperor Augustus, Rome had a population of 1 million in 210 AD.
During the Middle Ages, Rome became very important in the Catholic Church as the Bishop of Rome, or the Pope, was important in the early days of Christianity. After the Sack of Rome and the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, Rome's population dropped from 1 million to just 500,000 in 273 and then again to 35,000 during the Early Middle Ages.
During the 15th century, the Papacy strove to surpass the grandeur of other cities in Italy by creating more extravagant churches and buildings. In 1870, the Kingdom of Italy annexed Rome and it grew to nearly 200,000 people. Slowly, Rome's population began to climb back to its height of 1 million, surpassing this between WW1 and WW2 during the early 20th century. After World War II, Rome grew even faster and its population boomed until the mid-1980's when the city had over 2.8 million people. Over the last thirty years, Rome's population has slowly declined as more people move to the suburbs.
Rome Population Growth
Italy as a whole is experiencing a declining population, much like the rest of Europe, due to declining birth rates and an aging population. Rome is declining slower than the rest of the country, with a population that's about in line with the country's average.