Milan counted more than 1.4 million residents at the end of 2019, according to the latest figures from the city's anagrafe, or registry office, which says the population is now at its highest since 1990.
More than 40,000 people registered their residency in Milan last year and another 10,000 have applied to do so, according to data gathered by La Repubblica.
While the northern powerhouse is draws people from all over Italy, some 12,000 people moved to Milan from overseas, the figures show.
Milan is the hub for Italian finance, industry and commerce. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
“Lots of people are arriving from London – Italians coming back, but not only,” Mayor Beppe Sala told reporters in December, suggesting that Brexit could bring “many advantages for our city”.
Milan stands to rival London as Europe's main banking hub when the UK leaves the European Union and the city is already beginning to add personnel and investment, Sala said.
Brexit may also have boosted Milan's population figures in a more minor way, as existing British residents rush to register their residency before the expected leave date on January 31st. The city is the top destination for Brits in Italy after Rome, while the wider region of Lombardy has more British residents than any other part of Italy.
Milan makes registering residency easier than many other cities in Italy, including Rome, by giving the option to complete the entire procedure online, even for non-Italians registering in Italy for the first time.
Yet while it enjoys a reputation as Italy's most modern and international city, Milan scores poorly with some foreign residents for work, friendliness and cost of living. In one recent survey international residents ranked Milan as the worst place in the world for job satisfaction, with just under half of those asked saying they were happy with their job in Milan compared to an average of 67 percent globally.
The city also has the highest rents in Italy, or indeed anywhere: Milan is one of the top ten most expensive places to rent in the world, according to one study last year.
Property is a big expense in Milan. Photo: DepositPhotos
It's thanks to incomers that Milan's population is growing at all: like the rest of Italy, the city's birth rate continues to fall to record lows, with just under 9,700 babies born in 2019 – the fewest in a century.
The two trends could be related, according to Flaminio Squazzoni, professor of sociology at the University of Milan, who told Repubblica that Italy's lack of policies to support working mothers especially impacts those who have moved to Milan for a job.
“These are people who don't have a family network to rely on, grandparents who could support a new mother both immediately after the birth and when she goes back to work,” Squazzoni said.