Can immigration solve the aging problem in Italy? Not really …

Gustavo De Santis


Immigration from the developing countries is beneficial for a rich, aging country. However, unless under extreme assumptions of very strong and temporary immigration of young guest workers (Gastarbeiter), its effects are modest and relatively short lived: after a while, immigrants too become older and retire; their fertility typically adapts rather quickly to the standards of the host country; and, in all cases, the share of foreigners increases very rapidly if immigrants must be a substitute for missing births. These intuitive considerations, here supported by the results of a set of simulations specifically tailored to the case of Italy, lead to the conclusion that immigration cannot counter aging, but only attenuate its extremes: structural adjustments, and fertility closer to replacement level, have no substitutes.

Gustavo DE SANTIS, Full Professor of Demography, Department of Statistics "G. Parenti", University of Florence, Viale Morgagni, n. 59, 50134-Firenze, Italy. E-mail: desantis@ds.unifi.it.


Immigration, ageing, fertility, mortality

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ISSN: 2035-5556

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