On 1 January 2006, Metropolitan France had an estimated 63.1 million inhabitants. France thus accounts for more than 12.9% of the European Union’s population. In 2006, life expectancy at birth was 77.2 years for men and 84.1 for women. Since 1994, this figure has increased by two years for men, but by only one year for women.
Demographic situation (2006)
Births: 831 000
The fertility rate is 2 children per woman. The birth rate is 13.1‰.
Mortality rate: 8.4‰
Marriages: 274,400. 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: 152 020.
The French Republic is a secular state where all religious faiths and denominations are found.
In 2007, education spending amounted to €77 billion, 28% of the national budget. This represents 6,9% per inhabitant.
Preschool, primary and secondary schools:
12, 342, 900 pupils
884, 000 teachers.
67, 581 preschool and primary schools, collèges and lycées.
Pupil/teacher ratio: 13.9 to 1.
Baccalauréat pass rate (2007): 83.3%.
2, 275, 000 students
89, 300 teaching staff
3,600 higher education establishments.
Student/teacher ratio: 25.4 to 1.
France has a total labour force of some 27.6 million. Within this category, 25.1 million are wage and salary earners and 2.5 million, 9.8% of the total labour force, are job seekers (January 2004). 74.5% of men and 63.8% of women are in employment.
Breakdown by type of employment (2006)
Net average annual earnings: €21,480 Gross average household savings: 15.3% of disposable income.
Consumption (% of household spending)
On 1 July 2007, the guaranteed monthly minimum wage (SMIC - salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance) was €1 280,07 gross for a working week of 35 hours at an hourly rate of €8.44.
Mean fiscal annual salary
Professionals: €70 126
Executives, management staff: €42 928
Technical and supervisory personnel: €22 143
Farmers, farm workers: €21 114
Other intermediate professions: €20,000
Skilled workers: €15 906
Clerical, white collar workers: €15 327
Statutory paid holiday entitlement: five weeks a year.
65% of people take a holiday away from home.
Approximately 1,38 million people in France - 5% of the working population - are union members. This is the lowest percentage in the European Union.
The main centralised trade unions are:
the CGT (Confédération Générale du Travail)
the CFDT (Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail)
FO (Force Ouvrière)
the CFTC (Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens)
the FSU (Fédération Syndicale Unitaire).
The French Social Security system was introduced in 1945. Benefits are financed on a "pay as you go" basis.
65.5% of total social security spending (29.6% of GDP) comes from employers and employees’ contributions and - 17.4% from taxes, including earmarked taxes such as the CSG (Contribution sociale généralisée - social security contribution levied on virtually all sources of income) or the CRDS (Contribution pour le remboursement de la dette sociale - contribution to the repayment of the social debt) which apply to all income other than that deriving from work.
This is virtually the sole source of funding for the Social Security system. Public financing accounts for 13.5% of total resources.
Benefits break down as follows: pensions (44%), health (35.2%), family allowances (9%) and employment aid (unemployment benefit, vocational training and social integration) (7.4%).
However, the growing number of pensioners compared to the labour force, combined with medical advances and longer life expectancy, has led to a deficit in the French Social Security system and in 2003 to reform of the pension contribution system.
Health is a major concern of the French: in 2005, they spent €190,5 billion on medical care and goods.
77.15% of this was covered by the social security system, with an increasing proportion being met by households and insurance companies. A major programme of reform was instituted in 2004 to balance the accounts of the health insurance branch of the Social Security system.
Updated on July 2007