Fertility along the Paris Metro

Inspired by Cheshire’s (2012) Lives on the Line, John Tomkinson, recently graduated PhD candidate from Ined, has highlighted the importance of local fertility variations within the city of Paris.

He used individual level census data (2013 French census) and an adaptation of the Own Children method (cf. Tomkinson & Breton, 2017) to count births and women by single year of age at local level (Iris).
The number of births and women are aggregated within a 500m radius of each metro station. John Tomkinson then calculated total fertility rate (TFR) and mean age at childbirth (MACB) at each station.


The TFR for the city of Paris in 2012 was 1.57 children per woman. This varies widely from a low of 0.94 at the station Maubert-Mutualité to a high of 2.39 at Champs-Elysées - Clemenceau. The MACB in Paris is 32.7 years old, ranging from 30.6 at Bercy to 34.7 years old at École Militaire. Both TFR and MACB change along metro lines traversing the city and can vary widely between two consecutive stations.

The stations on Line 8 have the most homogeneous TFR (1.24-1.95) whilst the greatest variation is observed on Line 1 (1.04-2.39) which traverses the city. Fertility is highest on Line 7 running from north to south. Line 10 which runs in the south of the city has the lowest fertility and is also the oldest line in terms of childbearing, the youngest is the Line 7bis in north-eastern Paris.

Multilevel analysis shows that individual factors – age, couple status and economic activity – account for 95% of the observed variation.

Important fertility variation within the city of Paris is a result of locally different population structures.

This work has benefitted from financial support of the labex iPOPs organised by the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED), under the reference ANR-10-LABEX-008, in the context of heSam Université.

Sources: Cheshire J., 2012, « Lives on the Line : mapping life expectancy along the London Tube network », Environment and Planning A, 44(7), p. 1525-1528 ; Tomkinson J., Breton D., 2017, « Comment mieux identifier les mères adolescentes dans le recensement français ? Améliorations de la méthode du "décompte des enfants au foyer" », Cahiers québécois de démographie, 45(2), p. 269-293.

Contact: John Tomkinson

Online: September 2018