The population of France: a few key figures (2011)

  • The 2011 rise in France’s population (+ 332,000 inhabitants) was very close to the one for 2010 and is still primarily due to natural increase. The country had 65.3 million inhabitants on 1 January 2012, 1.9 million of whom live in its overseas departments. The population pyramid for France is slightly younger than for the European Union as a whole as the country’s birth rate has been slightly higher than the EU’s for the last 20 years.
  • On 1 January 2009, an estimated 5.3 million immigrants were living in metropolitan France (8.5% of inhabitants), a million more than in 1999. Africa is now the continent from which the largest segment of immigrants arrive (43%, ahead of Europe); though most are still from the three North African countries (30% of the total), sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly present (13% of the total number of immigrants for 2009).
  • Fertility fell slightly in 2011: the short-term indicator stands at 2.01 children per woman and 1.99 in metropolitan France, a dip of 1.1%. France’s relatively high fertility rate is explained at least in part by the low proportion of childless women. The country has the third rate in Europe, behind Iceland and Ireland.
  • With a life expectancy at birth of 78.4 years for men and 85 years for women, average length of life in France continued to increase in 2011. While the country ranks fairly high in the EU for women, this does not hold for men. For both sexes, premature death (under 65 years) is close to the European average, while oldest old mortality has been either the lowest or among the lowest in the EU for the last 30 years. The primary explanation for the continued increase in life expectancy at birth is the fall in mortality after 65 years of age.
  • Cancer has become the first cause of death, ahead of cardiovascular disease. Whereas violent death is prevalent among young people, cancer is the first cause of death among women aged 25-44 and men aged 45-64. Above age 80, cardiovascular disease predominates and "other diseases," such as all varieties of senility, assume greater proportions.

Source: France Prioux, Magali Barberi, 2012, Recent Demographic Developments in France: Relatively Low Mortality at Advanced Ages, Population-E, 67 (4)

Contact: Magali Barberi

Online: April 2013