The Point: Demographics Are Destiny

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Imagine living among the forested hills, the sun-drenched vineyards, and the ancient olive groves of southeastern Italy.

Well, for $27,000, you can now own a house in a quaint medieval Italian village. Even better: The authorities in the region will pay you $27,000 to move there. Especially if you’re young and willing to start a business to boost the local economy.

The region is suffering from what CNN calls a “depopulation crisis.”  For years, young Italians have been migrating away from the region looking for excitement and better jobs.

But there’s more to this story that the article doesn’t mention: Italy’s fertility rate is 1.44 children per woman. Well below the replacement level of 2.1.

Italian authorities rightly don’t want to see their “authentic villages turn into ghost towns.” Paying people to move there may help save this old way of life, but unless they convince their fellow Italians to embrace new life, they won’t be able to pay enough to have a real future.

 

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