A baby boy named Pablo is the toast of a tiny Italian community that hasn’t seen a newborn resident in nearly three decades.
Although Pablo was born about 90 kilometres away in Turin, the town of Ostana is celebrating the boy’s birth as a “dream come true,” according to mayor Giacomo Lombardo.
Like many other communities in Italy, Ostana has seen a drastic decline in its population over the years. With the birth of Pablo, the first new baby in the town since 1987, Ostana’s population swells to 85 people.
The town had about 1,000 residents in the early 1900s, but the population and the number of births started dropping off after the Second World War, BBC reported.
“The real decline started in 1975, with 17 babies between 1976 and 1987, when the last boy was born — until little Pablo,” BBC quoted Lombardo.
They boy’s parents aren’t even native to the town.
Pablo’s mother, Silvia Rovere, is from the Piedmont region, where Ostana is located, while father Jose Vallelago Berdugo is originally from Madrid, Spain.
They were planning to move to the French island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, to live and work. But, to Osatana’s good fortune, they learned of an opportunity to manage a retreat in the mountain town.
Rovere was pregnant with the couple’s second child at the time — they have two daughters now ages six and four — when the job offer came their way five years ago.
“It’s great to finally have someone born here and it shows that our efforts to reverse population decline are slowly working,” the mayor said.
But, the micro-population boom might not last forever.
Rovere, 41, told Italy’s La Stampa the couple will hit the road “sooner or later” and head out to enjoy life in the tropics on Reunion.
Italy’s government warned last year the country was in need of a “wake-up call” to turn the country’s population decline around.
“We are very close to the threshold of non-renewal where the people are not replaced by newborns. that means we are a dying country,” Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin told the Guardian in February 2015.
“This situation has enormous implications for every sector: the economy, society, health, pensions, just to give a few examples.”
According to the Guardian, 2014 saw the fewest number of babies born “in any other year since the modern Italian state was formed in 1861.”