Rome, March 6 (IANS/AKI) The number of babies born in Italy hit a new historic low of 474,000 last year, 12,000 fewer than the 486,000 born in 2015, national statistics agency Istat said on Monday.
The total fertility rate fell to 1.34 children per woman in 2016 from 1.35 the previous year, while the average age at which women gave birth was nearly 32 (31.7 years), confirming the trend towards having children later, Istat data showed.
The drop in fertility "was due to the reduction of women of childbearing age (for national women)
and to the aging process (for non national women)", Istat said.
Italy's population shrank to 60,579,000 in 2016, 86,000 less people than in the previous year, according to Istat figures.
A total of 134,000 more people died than were born in 2016, the second worse result ever, Istat said.
There were more than 13.5 million people aged over 65 (22.3 percent of Italy's population) last year, 4.1 million over 80 and 17,000 people aged 100 and above, according to Istat.
Life expectancy rose in 2016 to 80.6 years for men and 85.1 years for women - a six-month increase for both sexes compared to last year, Istat figures showed.