Life in a circle

Publish date 06-08-2022

by Fabrizio Floris

The demographic decline is a phenomenon that has characterized Italy and Europe in a significant way for decades and will continue to persist in future years. Eurostat estimates that the European population will continue to have a negative trend until it will lose 30 million inhabitants by 2100 while the neighboring African continent will reach 4 billion inhabitants.

Italy could be the second country after Poland to lose the most inhabitants. The effect will not only be the decline in population itself, but an imbalance in the population pyramid that would look more like a skyscraper where those who are 85-89 years old will be largely the same as those who are 0-4 years old. In Italy in 2021 births decreased by 25% compared to 2011 and by 50% compared to 1964: a constant and seamless reduction that tends towards the threshold of only one child per couple. The effect is a continuous decrease in the resident population (at least in the last 7 consecutive years) attenuated only by the migratory balance.

Already in a neighborhood like Mirafiori, Turin, those who are over 65 are twice as numerous as young people up to 15. A missionary returning from Africa asked me "where have the children gone?". There are, but they are few. In Turin there are 41,979 children aged 0-6 while there are almost 100,000 dogs. Pets have grown rapidly in recent years and it is not known whether individualism and loneliness or the dog came first, the fact is that the combination of television, loneliness, dog has created an apparently self-referential nucleus. It is a transversal phenomenon that involves all age groups and all types of families, but the one that is most striking is made up of young couples that the British call dink, double incoms no kids, two salaries and no children. In Mirafiori the number of these couples accompanied by the dog or families with a child is growing, who buy him the dog to keep him company after the age of three. So the parish priest in the end, a little discouraged, says: "Thank goodness there are dogs, cats and television, otherwise this condition of loneliness would be even heavier".

Yet as Godbout explains «There is a kind of social law that causes what does not circulate dies, as happens for the Sea of ​​Galilee or the Dead Sea. Formed by the same river, the Jordan, they are one alive and the other dead, because the first gives water to other rivers while the second keeps it all for itself ". Societies need continuous relations of exchange, of gift: because what does not circulate dies, only life nourishes life.

Fabrizio Floris
NP April 2022

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