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  • Improving the Accuracy of Life Tables for the Oldest Old: The Case of France - F. Meslé, J. Vallin
  • Democratization or Increase in Educational Inequality? Changes in the Length of Studies in France, 1988-1998 - P. Merle
  • Child Fostering under Six in Senegal in 1992-1993 - C. Vandermeesch


  • Recent Demographic Developments in France - F. Prioux
  • France’s One-Parent Families in 1999 - É. Algava

Short paper

  • Do Populations Conform to the Law of Anomalous Numbers? - F. Sandron

Selected from POPULATION 2001

  • Measurement and Practices of Social and Racial Segmentation in Cali. Survey of African Colombian Households - O. Barbary
Improving the Accuracy of Life Tables for the Oldest Old: The Case of France
Meslé France, Vallin Jacques

Life tables calculated in the classic way on the basis of annual death statistics and age-specific population estimates as of 1 January of each year become unreliable at the oldest ages. Due to the rapid decline of mortality among the oldest old observed in the past few decades and the even swifter increase in the proportion of nonagenarians and centenarians in industrialized countries, it has become more important than ever to improve the accuracy of the measurement of mortality at the oldest ages.
The extinct generation method enables us to do this while using only real data. The method was adapted to be used with cohorts that are not completely extinct, thus making it possible to reconstruct recent mortality after age 90 with an acceptable degree of accuracy.
The trends in life expectancy at 90, 95 or 100 can thus be studied with greater accuracy from the start of the twentieth century. The comparison between the results obtained through traditional methods and those obtained through the extinct generation method shows that life expectancy at those ages was previously overestimated, thus masking its spectacular increase during the last three decades.

Democratization or Increase in Educational Inequality? Changes in the Length of Studies in France, 1988-1998
Merle Pierre

Beginning in the 1960s and up until the last decade of the twentieth century, the democratization of education has been the focus of a great deal of research. The aim of this article is first to show that definitions and results concerning the democratization of education in France can be ambiguous. The next step is to develop an alternative approach to the study of educational inequality. The approach is based on the study of trends in the duration of studies. The assembled data indicate that the gap between the duration of schooling of the students who stay in the school system for the longest time and those who leave it earliest has significantly widened between 1988 and 1998. When the cost of long and short study courses are factored in, the educational system is shown to have reinforced economic inequality. Education expenditure had a counter-redistributive effect, by benefiting more the students who stay for the longest time in school and come from well-to-do families, than those who stay for the shortest time, and originate overwhelmingly in the working class.

Child Fostering under Six in Senegal in 1992-1993
Vandermeersch Céline

Using data from the 1992-1993 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in Senegal in 1992-1993, this study identifies the principal determinants of the practice of child fostering, focusing on children aged 0-5. The determinants of both out-fostering and in-fostering of these children are examined in turn.Fosterage appears to be primarily a way of adjusting to demographic imbalances between households with too few children and those with too many. The higher the number of surviving children aged 0-5 a mother has, the more likely she is to foster one of them out. Households with sterile or sub-fecund women or women at the beginning or end of their reproductive lives foster significantly more young children than other households.Out-fostering a young child also appears to be a mechanism for responding to short-term economic problems. The poorest households and women can thereby reduce the costs associated with raising young children. On the other hand, fostering a young child does not appear to be a long-term investment strategy, especially for the purpose of education.

Recent Demographic Developments in France
Prioux France

The flow of migrants into France has been rising since 1996, mainly from countries outside the European Economic Space (EES).The total fertility rate registered another mild gain in 2001, to 1.9 children per woman. The fertility of women over 30 is still increasing, and that of women under 25 is recovering. Despite these developments, the completed fertility of the birth cohorts of the 1960s is declining, and may settle at slightly over two children per woman.
The introduction of the Civil Solidarity Pact (PACS, Pacte Civil de Solidarité) did not prevent the number of marriages in 2000 and 2001 from exceeding 300,000, the highest figure since 1983. Yet the proportions never married (according to the legal definition) are progressing strongly across cohorts.
In 2001, life expectancy at birth passed the threshold of 83 years for women and 75.5 years for men. At present, male gains are most significant in adulthood, whereas female gains are concentrated at the older ages.
Mean household size continues to fall; the mean number of persons per dwelling in the 1999 census was 2.4. Slightly more than three dwellings in ten are occupied by one person only. A large majority (60%) are women, but their predominance is weakening, as the proportion of men living alone is increasing rapidly at nearly all ages. By contrast, the proportion of men and women living as partners is declining at all ages except the oldest. Children are increasingly less likely to live with married parents, and more likely to live with unmarried parents or in one-parent families.

France’s One-Parent Families in 1999
Algava Élisabeth

The number of one-parent families has almost doubled since 1975 to nearly two million in 1999. But this does not imply that they constitute a clearly defined statistical grouping, let alone a clearly identifiable social category. The non-existence of a second parent is inferred from the absence of a partner who shares the home, and this involves many approximations. Furthermore, they are far from forming a homogeneous group. While a growing proportion of these families are the consequence of the break-up of a union, there remains a large disparity between parents who were married and later divorced and those who were cohabiting. Parents who never lived in a union and tend to be young are even further removed from widowed parents, who are older and often have grown-up children. These differences play a key role in the greater vulnerability of one-parent families in comparison with couples and their children. Among parents of one-parent families, the youngest mothers, with lower educational levels and higher unemployment, seem diametrically opposed on all points to older mothers and single fathers.

Measurement and Practices of Social and Racial Segmentation in Cali. A Survey of African Colombian Households
Barbary Olivier

In Colombia as in other Latin American countries, the last decade has brought recognition of ethnic and cultural diversity in the official discourse and in the Constitution. This change is the result, among other factors, of a mobilization by civil society and political and scientific circles over the condition of minorities and the segregation and discrimination processes affecting them. The south-west region and its metropolis Cali, as major seats of the African Colombian and, to a lesser extent, the indigenous population, are at the heart of the issue. Building on a survey conducted in 1998 in Cali, this article raises the problem of measuring and analysing racial segmentation and its links to spatial and social mobility. In the context of a society with a high level of race mixture, what is advocated here is the use of phenotypic categories to capture the complex relations between social and ethnic inequality, and to suggest a preliminary diagnosis of segregation and discrimination in Cali, building on the residential distribution and socio-economic conditions for insertion in the city, but also using the respondents’ perception. The survey also reveals the strong heterogeneity of this population, due largely to its diversified geographic origins and the highly varied historical and economic circumstances of its migration. Lastly, through logistic regressions on the answers to ethnic and phenotypic questions, the article explores the determinants of the African Colombian identity assertion movement that has recently emerged in the country, and suggests a new approach to the question of the black population’s place in the Colombian mixed-race society for, however.

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