Foreign births on the rise in Italy: report

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A total of 80,000 children were born to foreign parents to Italy in 2012. Photo: Kitt Walker
10:35 CET+01:00
More children are being born to foreign parents in Italy while the number of Italian births continues to drop, according to a report by statistics agency Istat. The figures also revealed the country's most popular baby names.

A total of 80,000 children were born to foreign parents to Italy in 2012, according to Istat’s latest birth and fertility report, showing a 2,800 increase since 2009.

The number of births to Italian parents, meanwhile, was found to have decreased by 11,000 compared with 2011 and 42,000 compared with 2008.

Overall, the number of births in Italy in 2012 decreased by 12,000 compared with the previous year, according to Istat.

The statistics also revealed that the most common baby names for Italian children were Francesco, Alessandro, Andrea and Lorenzo for boys and Sofia, Giulia, Giorgia and Martina for girls.

The most popular male names for children born to foreign residents in Italy, meanwhile, were Adam, Rayan, Mohamed as well as Matteo and Alessandro. The most popular girl names were Sara, Sofia, Malak and Melissa.

Among the children born to immigrant parents, there were also found to be differences according to the nationality of the parents.

While Chinese parents tended to opt for more traditional Italian names like Matteo, Andrea, Alessandro and Angelo, the children of Moroccan, Indian, Tunisian and Bangladeshi parents tended to choose names from their own cultures.

”It’s a very interesting topic, it shows a cultural identity as well as the language that foreigners use with their family, in the family home,” Maurizio Ambrosini, a sociology professor specializing in migration at the University of Milan told La Stampa newspaper.

The figures also showed that one child in four was born to an unmarried couple in 2012. This trend was particularly prevalent in the central-northern Italy where 30 percent of children were born to unmarried couples, the report found.

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The report also showed that women are choosing to become mothers later in life with seven percent of mothers giving birth over the age of 40. In 2012 the average age of mothers in Italy was 31.4 compared with 29.8 in 1995.

Earlier this month, another Istat report also revealed that marriages between Italians and foreigners are fuelling a rise in weddings in Italy.

Another recent report from the 2013 Statistical Dossier on Immigration revealed that taxes from foreign workers in Italy boosted the state coffers by an additional €1.4 billion in 2011.

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