Birth rates in many
are falling to alarmingly low
. Politicians in Japan and South Korea are pondering
about the future economic
of their countries. A recent conference in Italy has addressed the country's looming demographic
. Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. The government is warning of
strains on pensions and the
system as Italy's population rapidly ages. The
of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has warned that having children is becoming more
for many couples. He lamented that starting a family in Italy is now a "
effort" that only the rich and wealthy can afford.