One of the post-war public apartment blocks in the outskirts of Milan. Due to a sustained growth of population and rapid arrival of migrants from all over Italy, several of these public housing estates were constructed during the 1950s–1960s.
The city proper has a population of 1,318,00 inhabitants as of October 2010. Since the population peaked in 1971, the city proper has lost almost one third of its population, mostly due to suburban sprawl subsequent to the deindustrialization process of the last three decades. The population of Milan, like many western cities, is characterized by low fertility rates, low crude birth rates and rapid ageing: in 2009, only 12.6% of the resident population was under 14, while 30.1% was over 60.
After the conclusion of World War II, Milan witnessed two main waves of mass immigration: the first, dating from the 1950s to the 1970s, and mainly composed of immigrants from poorer areas of Italy; the second, starting from the 1980s, and composed of immigrants from outside Italy.
More in detail, the first migration wave coincided with the so called Italian economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s, a period of extraordinary growth based on classic industry and public works expansion, that brought to the city an immense flow of over 400,000 people mainly from rural areas of Southern Italy. The second immigration wave, that occurred starting from the 1980s and grew stronger after the fall of the Berlin Wall, was mainly composed by foreign-born immigrants from (North Africa), Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), and from (Sub-Saharan Africa) Eritrea, Senegal, and Ivory Coast) after 1989, from the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe and from China. In the early 1990s, Milan already had a population of foreign-born immigrants of 58,000 (or 4% of the then population), that eventually became over 117,000 by the end of the decade (about 9% of the hen population). At the end of 2009, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that about 200,000 foreign-born immigrants lived in Milan, representing 15% of the total resident population, while more than 400,000 lived in the urban area.
In addiction, Milan hosts the oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy, with about 17,000 people in 2010. Situated in the 9th district, and centered on Via Paolo Sarpi, an important commercial avenue, the Milanese Chinatown was originally established in the 1920s by immigrants from Wencheng County, in the Zhejiang province, and used to operate small textile and leather workshops. Today, the area is famous for its hairdressing salons, oriental fashion boutiques, silk and leather stores, wholesales, and Chinese restaurants. Its multi-ethnical heritage makes the street one of Milan's most cosmopolitan and colourful, notably during the celebrations of Chinese New Year.