The most recent census was in March 1999. On 1 January 2000, Metropolitan and Overseas France had 60.4 million inhabitants, including 4 million foreign residents of whom 1.5 million were European Union nationals. France accounts for 16% of the European Union’s population.
In the space of ten years (1988-1998), life expectancy rose by two years for men (74 years) and three for women (82 years).
Demographic situation (2000)
> Births: 778,90
The fertility rate is 1.89 children per woman.
The birth rate: 13 ‰.
> Deaths : 538,300
Mortality rate: 9 ‰.
> Marriages: 304 ,300
Since the start of the 1990s, the number of married couples has fallen while the number of non-married couples has risen from 1.5 million in 1990 to 2.4 million - one couple in six today.
> Divorces : 120,000
Couple with at least one child
Couple without children
Other non-family households
20 to 64 years
Under 20 years
65 and over
Average age: 37 years
The French Republic is a secular state where all religious faiths and denominations are represented.
In 2000, education spending amounted to 99.7 billion euros, 7.2% of GDP and 37% of the national budget. This represents 1,570.22 euros per inhabitant and 5,671.1 euros per pupil or student.
> Preschool, primary and secondary schools:
• 12,236,000 pupils.
• 866,000 teachers.
• 70,668 schools, collèges and lycées.
Pupil/teacher ratio: 14 to 1.
Baccalauréat pass rate (2000): 79.5%.
> Higher education:
• 2,126,000 students.
• 80,351 teaching staff.
• 90 universities, 3,600 higher education establishments.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.8 to 1.
France has a total labour force of some 26.5 million. Within this category, 19.5 million are wage and salary earners and 2.35 million, 9% of the total labour force, are job seekers (January 2001). 62% of men and 48% of women are in employment.
Breakdown by type of employment (2000)
Clerical, white-collar workers: 7,705,000
Manual workers: 7,096,000
Intermediate occupations: 5,153,000
Managerial and professional occupations: 3,246,000
Self-employed non-professionals, shopkeepers, heads of businesses: 1,651,000
Farmers, farm workers : 671,000
Unemployed people who have never worked: 350,000
% of the total labour force
Net average annual earnings: 19,938 euros.
Gross average household savings: 1,829 euros, or 15.6% of disposable income.
Consumption (% of household spending)
Housing, electricity, heating
Food, drink and tobacco
Transport and communications
Leisure and culture
Household goods and maintenance
Other goods and services (restaurants, travel, etc.)
On 1 July 2000, the guaranteed monthly minimum wage (SMIC - salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance) was 1,082.60 euros gross, an hourly rate of 6.41 euros.
Mean fiscal annual salary
• Professionals: 70,126 euros
• Executives, management staff: 37,796 euros
• Technical and supervisory personnel: 21,672 euros
• Farmers, farm workers: 21,114 euros
• Other intermediate professions: 20,990 euros
• Skilled workers: 15,547 euros
• Clerical, white collar workers: 14,897 euros
• Unskilled workers: 13,230 euros
Statutory paid holiday entitlement: five weeks a year.
69% of people take a holiday away from home.
Approximately two million people in France - 8% of the working population - are union members, the lowest percentage in the European Union.
The main central trade unions are:
the CGT (Confédération générale du travail), the CFDT (Confédération démocratique du travail), FO (Force ouvrière), the CFTC (Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens) and the FSU (Fédération syndicale unitaire).
The French Social Security system was introduced in 1945. Benefits are financed on a "pay as you go" system.
67% of total social security spending (29% of GDP) comes from employers and employees’ contributions and 16% from taxes, including earmarked taxes such as the CSG (Contribution sociale généralisée - social security contribution levied on virtually all sources of income). Public financing accounts for only a fifth of total resources.
Benefits break down as follows: pensions (49.2%), health (27.2%), family allowances (12.8%) and employment aid (unemployment benefit, vocational training and social integration) (8.4%).
However, the growing number of pensioners compared to the labour force and medical advances led to a deficit in the French Social Security system which has now been partly reduced (609.8 million euros in 1999 compared to 2.03 billion euros in 1998). By 1999, this had fallen to four billion francs thanks in particular to the introduction of a temporary extra levy (Contribution pour le remboursement de la dette sociale - CRDS).
Health is a major concern of the French: in 1999, they spent 132.7 billion euros on medical care and goods. 75% of this was covered by the social security system, with an increasing proportion being met by households and insurance companies.
As a result of this demand for health services, the public health insurance system is the only branch of the social security system still in deficit despite the reforms (0.91 billion euros).