In this paper we discuss the differences in fertility levels and timing among Italian regions. We firstly present the trends that characterized these differences in the last forty years along the North-South divide. We show, in particular, that in the first decade of this century the total fertility rate in the Northern area surprisingly surpassed the level of rest of the country. We then investigate the driving forces of this reversal, some related to the economic background of each area (e.g. women unemployment and participation to labor market), but also some related to its social and cultural characteristics (e.g. welfare effectiveness, diffusion of new family behaviors). We conclude discussing the perspectives of fertility levels, positive in the centre-north, negative in the southern area, due to a combination of restraining factors that policies should remove.
Italy, Regional differences, Fertility, Policies