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Population replacement, social mobility and development in Italy in the twentieth century

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Many scholars have expressed alarm at the low fertility and sustained immigration that have characterized Italy in the last decade (1.3 children per woman and an increase of more than 200,000 immigrants per year). This article takes a different approach, showing how low fertility and strong migratory balances (involving migration both between Italian regions and from abroad) have enhanced the formation of human capital, facilitating family strategies of upward social mobility, the construction of a more balanced labor market, increases in income and a decline in the graying of the population. The combination of low fertility and sustained immigration, therefore, has been and still is a fundamental resource for development of the population and of Italian society, especially in central and northern Italy. The article also discusses modifications in family and immigration policies suggested by these findings.
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Keywords: Immigration; human capital formation; low fertility; regional analysis; social mobility

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Padua

Publication date: 01 June 2006

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