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LIVING IN FRANCE

MAP: Which areas of France are set to see a population fall by 2070?

Forecasts predict that the French population in 2070 will be about the same size it is today - but the overall population will be considerably older and have seen a significant geographical shift.

MAP: Which areas of France are set to see a population fall by 2070?
France's population is set to see a significant geographical shift in the next 50 years. Image: AFP/Datawrapper

National statistics agency Insee estimates that, by 2050, the population of France will peak at around 70 million. Twenty years later, it is expected to be about 68.1 million, compared to 67.8 million at the start of 2022, held up by migration as birth rates continue to fall.

In common with most European countries, the birth rate in France has been falling steadily for years.

By 2070, some 20 million residents will be aged 65 or more – that’s 29 percent of the forecast population, compared to 20 percent currently. 

And where those people live will also have changed quite significantly over the next 50 years, with the map showing a marked drift to the west. 

Insee’s projections, based on current population trends, show that demographic decline has already begun in Normandy, the Grand Est region in eastern France and Hauts-de-France in the north. 

MAP Parts of France set to be underwater as sea levels rise

Areas where the population is expected to fall

If current trends continue, the population of Normandy will fall by 460,000 people by 2070 from its 2018 figure, an average decline of 8,850 inhabitants each year over the period. In 2070, the region is forecast to be home to 2.9 million people.

The eastern Grand Est will see a decline of about 750,000 inhabitants, falling to 4.8 million by 2070. All départments, apart from the Bas-Rhin (which houses Strasbourg) will see population falls.

Meanwhile, population numbers in Hauts-de-France will fall by about 600,000, compared to 2018 figures, to 5.4 million. Currently the third most-populous region in France, it will fall to fifth in 48 years.

In decline since 2015, Centre-Val de Loire is expected to see a fall of 162,000 people by 2070, with the population dropping to 2.41 million, Insee said.

Bourgogne Franche-Comté in the east will see a 14 percent drop in population (about 200,000 people) to about 2.4 million to become one of the least-populated regions in France.

Areas with rising population

Population growth, the forecast suggests, will continue slowly until 2050 everywhere else in the country - but between 2050 and 2070, only Occitanie in the south and Pays-de-la-Loire in the west will see population numbers continue to rise. 

Occitanie’s population will jump by 824,000 by 2070 to about 6.7 million - a figure mostly driven by migration - while Pays de la Loire will see an increase of 430,000, reaching 4.2 million.

The south-west region of Nouvelle Aquitaine will see an increase of 420,000 people to reach 6.2 million by 2070, compared to 2018’s figures. But the region will also bear the brunt of the ageing population figures. In five départments, including Dordogne and Charente-Maritime, over 65s will make up 40 percent of the local population.

An additional 32,400 people are expected to live on Corsica in 48 years, taking the total number of people on the island to 371,000.

Brittany, too, will see an increase in population of 283,000 to reach 3.6 million by 2070, as will Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - which will see an increase of 283,000 by 2070, reaching a total of 8.65 million residents.

What about Paris and the Riviera?

The greater Paris Île-de-France region is predicted to see a rise and then a fall.

Île-de-France is expected to be home to about 12.53 million people by 2070 - an increase of 300,000 compared to 2018 figures, but down on the peak of about 12.75 million in 2050. It will also be the ‘youngest’ region of France, with just 22 percent of the population aged 65 or over, compared to an expected national average of 29 percent.

A similar rise and fall will occur in the southern Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region - which includes the Riviera and France's second-biggest city of Marseille - which will see the population rise to 5.23 million in 2050 before falling back to 5.17 million by 2070.

Predicted population in 2070 

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - 3.6 million people, a 283,000 increase on 2018

Bourgogne Franche-Comté - 2.4 million, 200,000 decrease

Brittany - 3.6 million, 283,000 increase

Centre-Val de Loire - 2.41 million, 162,000 decrease

Corsica: - 371,000, 32,400 increase

Grand Est - 4.8 million, 750,000 decrease

Hauts-de-France - 5.4 million, 600,000 decrease

Ile-de-France - 12.53 million, 300,000 increase

Normandy - 2.9 million, 460,000 decrease

Occitanie - 6.7 million, 824,000 increase

Pays de la Loire - 4.2 million, 430,000 increase

Nouvelle Aquitaine - 6.2 million, 420,000 increase

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur - 5.17 million, 120,000 increase 

Member comments

  1. These images show an extrapolation of past trends. However, the effects of climate change don’t seem to be included. The heat waves of the last few Summers have made the south almost unlivable, and add to that the drought that continues to make life very difficult for animals and humans. That will see many people leave the hot and dry south to move more northwardly, where house prices may be lower only for a short time.

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MONEY

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.

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