1902 Encyclopedia > Italy > Italy - Vital Statistics

(Part 9)


Italy - Vital Statistics

Previous to 1871 we have no census for the whole kingdom of Italy, seeing that at the previous census of 1861 the Roman territory was not yet incorporated. Approximate totals are obtainable for earlier dates by summing up the returns for the Sardinian kingdom, the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, &c, not indeed belonging to the same year, but separated from each other by comparatively slight intervals. It is thus estimated that the growth of the population of the territory now forming the kingdom is represented with some approach to accuracy in the following table (III.) :—

== TABLE ==

At this last date (1861) the population of the kingdom exclusive of the province of Home was 21,777,334. The census of 1871 showed for the whole kingdom a total of 26,801,154 ; and it is estimated that this had increased by 1875 to 27,482,174, and by 1879 to 28,437,091. The census of 1861 gave 10,897,236 males and 10,880,098 females, that of 1871 13,472,213 males and 13,328,892 females. At the latter date 36 per cent, of the population were married, and 6 per cent, in a state of widowhood.

The 1871 census shows that the males are in distinct excess of the females for the first fifteen years of life, that after that age the excess is on the side of the females, and becomes very strong between nineteen and twenty-one, and that between thirty-one and seventy-one the advantage is for the most part on the side of the males. (See Luigi Rameri's elaborate study in Annali di Statistica, series 2, vol. x., 1879.)

In spite of the fact that the great mass of the Italian population is engaged in agricultural pursuits, an unusual proportion of the inhabitants are congregated in towns. The Italian, to quote the words of Gallenga,[Footnote 449-1] is no lover of the country ; he dreads of all things an isolated dwelling. If he cannot live in the capital, then in a provincial city ; if not, in a country town ; then in a village; —only not in a country house. Landowners (what in England would be known as county families), farmers, and most of the labourers huddle together in their squalid boroughs and hamlets; and the peasants have often a journey of several miles before they reach the fields entrusted to their care,—though this tendency is indeed now less marked than formerly. At the same time the number of very large cities is comparatively small. At the census of

TABLE IV.—Communal Population of Towns in 1879.

== TABLE ==

1871 Naples ranked first with a communal population of 448,335 ; and there were twenty-two other towns whose inhabitants numbered about 50,000 or upwards. With the exception of four belonging to Sicily, the greater number of these were situated in the north. Table IV. indicates the communal population of all the towns that exceed 20,000 according to the municipal bulletins for 1879. The figures differ from those of the Movimento dello Stat. Civile, as the latter takes into account only births and deaths and not migrations.

The official reports divide the communes into urban, those with an agglomerate population of 6000 inhabitants ; mixed, those in which there is a centre of 6000, but a greater number in the country districts ; and rural, comprising all the others. Of the urban there were 373 in 1875, of the. mixed 39, and of the rural 7873.

The following table (V.) shows the number and distribution of the greater centres of population throughout the kingdom :—

== TABLE ==

In 1877 it was found that 238 of the 8295 communes of the kingdom had no register of population, and that the aggregate population in December 1876 of the communes which were thus situated or did not keep their registers up to date was no less than 7,002,456, or more than one-fourth of the population of the country (Annali di Stat., vol. v., 1879). The statistics of the growth of the population are consequently attended with a degree of uncertainty ; but the following table (VI.) exhibits the general facts since the completion of the kingdom;—

== TABLE ==

During the fifteen years 1865-79 the marriages averaged 7.48 annually in every 1000 inhabitants, the births 37.1 (104 males to 100 females), and the deaths 30.4. The average number of children (births and still-births) per marriage was 4.68. There is very little difference in the percentage of the marriages in the urban and the rural communes ; but in the matter of births and still more in deaths the urban communes stand higher than the rural. The following table (VII.) gives the numbers per 100 of the population:—

== TABLE ==

Out of 412,981 women married in the years 1878 and 1879, 184 were under fifteen, 3183 were between fifteen and sixteen, 6610 between sixteen and seventeen, 12,067 between seventeen and eighteen, 20,546 between eighteen and nineteen, and 29,391 between nineteen and twenty; so that altogether 71,981 were married under twenty years of age. Of the men 27.28 per cent, were married before reaching their twenty-fifth year, and 80.99 per cent, before reaching their thirty-fifth year. Although marriages between uncle and niece and aunt and nephew are forbidden by the civil code, about 127 of this class of marriages are contracted annually under special licence.

The following tables (VIII., IX.) show the number of legitimate and illegitimate births in 1878 and 1879, as well as of those placed in the ruota [Footnote 449-3] or exposed, and whose parentage is unknown :—

==TABLE ==

It appears from these last figures (1879) that 10.57 per cent, of the children born in the towns, and 5.65 per cent, of those in the country, are either illegitimate or unacknowledged by their parents, and that, while the proportion of males to females is overhead 106 or 107 to 100, the proportion in the case of the illegitimate is 112 in the towns. The province of Rome, the Marches, Umbria, Emilia, and Sardinia are the regions in which illegitimacy most prevails,—17, 13, 12, 10, and 9 per cent, being their respective figures for 1878, while little more than 1 per cent, is shown for Campania and Apulia. It is a painful fact that in the space of ten years 305,105 children have been abandoned by their parents. The rate of infant mortality, also, speaks of ignorance and neglect: in 1877, for example, 214,093 children (i.e., nearly 21 per cent.) died in the first year of existence, and other 196,844 perished before they completed their tenth year.[Footnote 450-1]

In the matter of emigration proper, it is calculated that out of every 100,000 of its population 82 leave Italy annually. The corresponding number for the United Kingdom is 350, for Belgium 230, for Denmark 110,—Italy coming next. According to the Stalistica della Emigrazione Italiana all' Estero, the total number of emigrants in the twelve years 1869-1880 is 1,407,723. Taking the figures for 1876-80 it would appear that about 37,000 Italians go every year to France, 19,000 to Austria-Hungary, 14,000 to Switzerland, 7000 to Germany, about 3000 to the other states of Europe, 20,000 to America (about a third of them to the La Plata republics), and from 2000 to 3000 to the other parts of the world. A large proportion of this body of people, however, return to their native country after a longer or shorter period of absence ; and the actual loss of population by this means is reduced to about 25,000 or 30,000 per annum. The compartimenti which contribute most to the total of the permanent emigration are Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, and the Veneto; Emilia, Tuscany, Umbria, the Marches, Latium, Sicily, and Sardinia have only a very small share.

The proportion of women and children to the total number of emigrants is thus indicated (Table X.) :—

== TABLE ==

The greater number—55 per cent.—of the emigrants proper are connected with agricultural pursuits ; 16 per cent, are artisans and operatives. Genoa is by far the most important emigration port, and next, though at a great interval, comes Naples.
According to the census of 1871 the population was grouped by occupation as follows:—no fewer than 8,738,565 were engaged in the production of raw materials, 3,287,188 in industrial operations, 199,901 in commerce, and 271,003 in transport; 765,099 were supported by their property ; 145,304 were engaged in the defence of the country, and 136,929 in public administration ; 148,883 were connected with religion, 25,986 with justice, 54,409 with health, 52,577 with education, 41,151 with the fine arts, and 14,145 with literature and science, while no fewer than 11,773,208 are registered as without profession or as dependent on others.


449-1 Country Life in Piedmont

449-2 [that is, footnote 2 in TABLE IV] Rome at the end of 1880 had 305,400

449-3 The ruota or foundling-wheel still exists in 1222 of the communes, being frequent in the Neapolitan provinces and Sicily, rare in upper and middle Italy. It has been abolished in 400 communes during the last twenty years. Nor has the abolition been attended with that increase of infanticide which is observed in France, the Italian law being much less rigid than the French in regard to illegitimate parentage.

450-1 E. Raseri, "I Fanciulli illegittimi e gli esposti in Italia" in Arch. di Stat., 1881.

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