More than eight million French people are living below the poverty line, according to data released on Tuesday by the national statistics agency, Insee.

"/> More than eight million French people are living below the poverty line, according to data released on Tuesday by the national statistics agency, Insee.

" />
SHARE
COPY LINK

NICOLAS SARKOZY

Eight million French living below poverty line

More than eight million French people are living below the poverty line, according to data released on Tuesday by the national statistics agency, Insee.

“Overall, the economic crisis has affected all households, but the less well-off have seen the biggest impact,” said Insee in its report.

The poverty threshold, which is equal to 60 percent of the median income, is set at €954 per month. The report says that 8.2 million French people were living on less than that in 2009, compared with 7.8 million in 2008.

This equates to a poverty level of 13.5 percent, or around one in seven of the population. 

The worst-off group is students, one in five of whom live below the poverty line.

The report estimated that half of French people have an annual income of less than €19,080 a year (€1,590 per month). The poorest 10 percent live on less than €10,410 a month.

The report also showed the gap between rich and poor to be widening. The wealthiest 10 percent live on more than €35,840 a year, a figure which has increased by 0.7 percent on a year earlier.

Poverty charity Secours Populaire said on Tuesday that the Insee figures underestimated the true extent of the problem.

“The situation has got considerably worse,” spokesman Julien Lauprêtre told radio station France Inter on Tuesday.

“When all our branches tell us things are getting worse, it must be true. The Insee figures unfortunately underestimate the reality of the situation in 2011.”

The government said that without action it had taken on special payments to disadvantaged groups, the figures would be even worse. Solidarity minister Roselyne Bachelot said that “this increase is linked to the rise in unemployment produced by the economic crisis.”

Opposition politicians were quick to criticize the performance of Nicolas Sarkozy’s government.

“If we summarize his five years,” said Socialist François Hollande, “the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer and the number of poor people has become even bigger.”

“Rather than tax sugared drinks, tobacco, alcohol and theme parks,” he added, referring to some of the measures taken in last week’s austerity budget announced by prime minister François Fillon, “the government would be better off taking action to help the situation of the poorest families in our country.”

On the far-right, Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, promised to take five million people out of poverty if she was elected president.

She told AFP the report “shows in a few dramatic figures the failure of the ultra-liberal economic model of Nicolas Sarkozy, the UMP and the Socialist Party, which has created mass unemployment and ever-growing insecurity.”

 

twitter.com/matthew_warren

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ECONOMY

IN NUMBERS: The ‘worrying’ scale of poverty in France in 2020

How many poor people are there in France and what does 'poor' even mean today? A new report has shed light on the changing face of France's most deprived groups.

IN NUMBERS: The 'worrying' scale of poverty in France in 2020
Volunteers of the charity 'Les Restos du Coeur' distribute food in Toulouse, southern France, on November 24th, 2020. The organisation expects 1 million beneficiaries this year for the winter season,

Published on Thursday by l'Observatoire des inégalités (Observatory for inequalities), the report Poverty in France 2020-2021 drew a sombre picture of situation in France.

“France remains one of the best social models in the world that protects its poor better than most other rich countries,” the authors wrote, before adding “that does not mean that the situation is not worrying.”

The report was published to, according to the authors, set the scene of the situation before the real impact of the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

“We will pay the damages, by an awaited and devastating progression of unemployment,” they said.

Young people were in an especially concerning situation, they said, outlining the under-30s as the biggest losers of the looming social and economic crisis.

The data in the report come from France's national research institute Insee. Some of them date back to 2018, due to a lack of newer numbers.
 

Here are some of the key numbers revealed in the report.

€885 – The poverty threshold the Observatory operates with. Most public institutions use €900. That means that anyone with a monthly income averaging less than €900 after taxes is regarded as poor.

In comparison, France’s minimum wage is €1,219 net. The Observatory chose to use €885 because it allowed them to “focus on the populations struggling the most”

REVEALED: Where in France has the lowest cost of living?

5.3 million – the number of people in France living on less than €885 per month on average in 2018. In comparison the number of people living on less than €900 per month on average was nearly the double, 9 million. 

The remaining numbers are calculated based on the Observatory's poverty threshold of €885 per month.

8.3 percent – the percentage of poor people in France, or more than 5 million people out of a population of 67 million.

According to Luis Maurin, President and Director of the Observatory, France's poverty level is low compared to many other European countries. “But it’s still 5 million people who live with very little, with incomes that are very different from the rest of society,” he said in a video published on their website (clip below).

This number is expected to rise in the months to come due to the negative impact from the Covid-19 health crisis on the economy.

0.4 percent – the rate of which poverty in France grew between 2013-2018. That means that back in 2013, 7.9 percent of France’s population was poor compared to 8.3 percent now. “It’s not an explosion, but it still represents 350,000 additional poor people,” Maurin said.

30 – half of France's poor were below 30 years old. Young people were those the most impacted by poverty at the time the statistics were collected and the report have outlined them as the biggest future losers of the economic downturn caused by Covid-19. 

12.5 percent – the percentage of all 18 to 25-year-olds  below the poverty threshold, a number that has been growing for years and is expected to grow in the future.

8.2 percent – the percentage of 18 to 25-year-olds who lived below the poverty threshold back in 2002.

5.5 million – the number of people in France who received food aid in 2017.

56 percent – the percentage of the French population who said the government is not doing enough to help the poorest groups of the population.

9 percent – the percentage of the French population who said the government is doing too much.

 

SHOW COMMENTS