MOLISE - Population
An ageing population
The density of the population in Molise is well below the national average. In 2002, Molise registered 72.3 inhabitants per km2, compared to a national figure of 190.2. The province of Campobasso is the most densely populated of the two provinces, with 79.4 inhabitants per km2, whereas Isernia registered 58.9 inhabitants per km2 (in 2002).
In the period 1951-71, large-scale emigration to other countries of the European Union, to other parts of Italy and overseas led to a significant decline in the population of Molise. From 1971 to 1991 there was a gradual increase. Between 1991 (330 900 inhabitants) and 2001 (320 601 inhabitants), the population of the region decreased by 3.1%.
The birth rate has fallen considerably in the last years, from 12.2 per thousand in 1980 to 10.3 in 1990, reaching 8.1 in 2002, which is below the national average of 9.4.
During the same time period the death rate has remained more or less unchanged. In 2002 it was equal to 10.6 per thousand, well above the national average of 9.8 per thousand.
The natural balance of the population in Molise is thus negative. In 2002, 2 600 births were registered in the region, against 3 402 deaths.
The population structure reveals a slightly higher share of the population in the extreme age groups with respect to the average Italian figures. On 1st January 2001, the share of population below 25 years of age was 26.6% (compared to 25.8% for Italy as a whole), and the share of those above 65 years of age was 20.9% (compared to 18.2% for Italy as a whole).
Life expectation in Molise is above the national figure: 77.5 years for men and 83.8 years for women (compared to 76.8 and 82.9 respectively).
Negative net migration persisted until 1981. Large-scale emigration has caused many of the smaller towns and villages to lose over 60% of their population, while only a small number of larger towns have recorded significant gains. From 1982 to 1994, net migration has been positive, then followed by a negative trend until 2001.
On 1st January 2001, 2 317 persons with foreign nationality were registered in Molise.