Immigrants in France: a female majority

Population and Societies

502, July-August 2013

In France today, the majority of immigrants are women. Using data from the Trajectories and Origins Survey (TeO), Cris Beauchemin, Catherine Borrel and Corinne Régnard show that, contrary to whatone might expect, family reunification is not the only explanation for this gender imbalance. Growing numbers of women migrate on their own initiative, either to find work or to pursue their education.

In 2008, women represented 51% of the immigrant population in mainland France. As shown by theTrajectories and Origins survey (TeO), the feminization of the immigrant population is not simply the consequenceof family reunification. In fact, the most predominantly female migrant flows are those in which single or "pioneer" women (migrating ahead of their partner) are most numerous. It is no longer only women who migrate to France to join their partner : since 1998, one-third of secondary migrants for family reunification have been men, and their numbers are also increasing among migrants coming to France to marry a French national.
In short, despite remaining gender specificities, men and women now behave in very similar ways.

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