With a surface area accounting for 8.5% of the total for Italy and a population of 8.8% of the national total, Sicily’s female population is larger than the male population by 162,900. The population density is greater in the Provinces of Palermo, Catania and Messina, whereas the hinterland areas tend to be less densely populated. Sicily is the 4th most populated region in Italy with approx. 5.1 million inhabitants.
The province of Palermo has the largest population with 1,239,808 inhabitants, followed by Catania and then Messina. Statistical analysis shows a slow but constant increase in the island’s population. The birth rate is 10.4 per 1,000 residents, higher than the European average which stands at 9.4. The average age is 39.8 years. The number of foreign inhabitants on the island is rapidly increasing. It rose from 50,890 in 2002 to 74,595 in 2006.