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Especially since the 1970s, Italian demographics, once typically Mediterranean, have come increasingly to resemble those of north Europeans. A rapid decline in birthratefrom 18.5 per 1,000 in the early 1950s to less than 10 per 1,000 in the late 1990s-has been reflected in the dramatic slowdown of natural population growth. Resident population grew from 47.1 million in 1951 to 57 million in 1985, but thereafter slowed dramatically with the 1991 census recording only 56.8 million. In fact the growth rate, measured as yearly and national average compound rate, fell to 0.3 per cent from the 1970s to the 1990s in comparison with 0.7 per cent in the previous decades, with the rate in the northern regions actually becoming negative.