Pope Francis called for additional aid to parents to overcome the low birth rate.
Speaking at a conference on the problem of demography in Italy, the pontiff noted that polls showed that youngest people would like to have children, but are worried about costs.
Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Mario Draghi noted that there were only 404,000 births in Italy last year.
The low fertility issue is not limited to Italy. This month's data showed that China's birth rate fell 18% last year to its lowest level since 1961, while the U.S. birth rate fell 4% to its lowest level since 1979.
The sharp drop in the number of newborns in many countries in 2020 is due in part to the stress and uncertainty caused by COVID. But long-term fertility trends in much of the developed world have been receding for several years.
The Pope noted that changing values carries with it some guilt, as modern society focuses on making money and building a career, while children are seen as a distraction.