What you need to know about France’s rising population

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What you need to know about France’s rising population
Photo: AFP

By the year 2050 France will be home to millions more people, but certain areas of the country will see population grow more than others. Here's a look at the key points.


On January 1st 2017, France had a population of 66.9 million, an all-time high. 

New data by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) says France’s population is predicted to increase to 74 million by 2050. 

We've picked out some key points from the INSEE study to give an idea of what France's growing population will look like in the future.

Regional differences

INSEE predicts the population will rise across France, but growth won't be even. The biggest rises in population will be in the Pays de la Loire region of western France (see chart below, courtesy of Ouest France) and the central region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

The Grand Est region of eastern France, which includes the old regions of Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardennes will see the smallest increase in population over the coming years - only 0.7 percent according to INSEE, followed by Normandy in the north, where growth will be only slightly higher.

The main reasons for the lack of growth in the Grand Est region according to INSEE is that there will be more deaths, especially in the years 2040 to 2050, less immigration to the region, there are fewer women meaning the birth rate will be lower and the area lacks attractiveness.

The greater Paris region of Ile-de-France will remain the country's most populated region and will be home to 13.2 million inhabitants by 2050 - up from 12 million in 2013. Auvergne-Rhône -Alpes will be the second most populated region with 9.5 million inhabitants in 2050 - up from 7.8 million.

An aging population

By 2050, France will have 20 million people aged 65-years-old or more. That's 8.6 million more than in 2013.

Interestingly for most regions in France deaths will outnumber births by 2050.

That's because baby boomers born between 1945 and 1975 will have reached old age. Among the elderly population the number of people aged over 75 will see a particularly large rise, numbering 12.9 million by 2050 – some 16.4% of the population.

Again the aging of the population won't be the same across all regions. INSEE predicts the trend will be more marked in the regions of Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Grand-Est and Normandie.


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The working population

But 2050 France will see a drop of 588,000 people in the size of its working population, basically those aged of 20 to 64.

So by 2050 the country's working population would only represent half of the country's overall population.

Again the reduction in the working population will be greater in the Grand Est region of eastern France and Normandy in the north.

Youth population remains stable

Between now and 2050, the number of people under-20 in France is expected to remain stable.

In 2050, France will have only 265,000 more young people than in 2013. Those under 20 would then represent 22.3 percent of the population, that's 2.3 percentage points less than in 2013," says INSEE. This decrease would concern all regions.

How do we explain the trend?

There are numerous reasons for the projected rise in France's population including immigration - net migration is currently 70,000 a year.

And people in France are living longer than ever before. By 2050 average life-expectancy for women will be 90.3 in France compared to 85 in 2013, while for men it will be 86.8 years compared to 78.7 in 2013.

But also France has one of the highest fertility rates in Europe.

Earlier this year The Local reported that in 2015, France had the highest birth rate in Europe at 1.96 children per woman, although this was down from the symbolic rate of 2 children per mother in 2014.

by Jessie Williams


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