Academic journal article Population

Recent Demographic Developments in France: A Decline in Fertility, an Increase in Mortality

Academic journal article Population

Recent Demographic Developments in France: A Decline in Fertility, an Increase in Mortality

Article excerpt

I. General trends and population age structure

A population of 66 million

On 1 January 2016, the population of France was 66.6 million, including 2.1 million in the overseas départements (Bellamy and Beaumel, 2016; Pison and Toulemon, 2016).

In 2015, the population increased by 247,000, down from 305,000 in 2014. The growth rate in metropolitan France was 3.7 per 1,000 lower than in 2014, when it was estimated at 4.6 per 1,000 (Appendix Table A.1),(1) according to provisional data from INSEE.

This decrease in the population growth rate (-0.09 percentage points between 2014 and 2015) reflects the combined effect of a fall in the crude birth rate (-0.03 percentage points) and a rise in the crude death rate (-0.06 percentage points). Net migration is estimated at +61,000. The growth rate from international migration was positive (+0.1%), but migration represented only a quarter of total growth. Thus, while its rate decreased somewhat, natural increase remained the principal driver of French population growth.

The over-60s outnumber under-20s

While three years ago the proportion of children and young people below age 20 was approximately equal to that of persons aged 60 and above, the latter group is now larger (Appendix Table A.2). The proportion aged 60 and over is growing every year (from 18.1% in 1985 to 25.2% in 2016), whereas that of the under-20s is slowly decreasing (29.2% in 1985 and 24.3% in 2016). This trend will intensify in the next two decades. The French population is ageing from the top of the population pyramid. This is due both to a long-term trend of decreasing mortality, with more individuals living to advanced ages, and to the increasing age of the large cohorts born during the baby boom, whose collective position in the pyramid is shifting upward (Figure 1). The crude mortality rate will thus continue to increase even if life expectancy rises further (Pison and Toulemon, 2016).

The base of the population pyramid is still relatively broad, although it has narrowed slightly due to a decreasing birth rate. This trend remains moderate in comparison to other European countries, however, where sharply declining fertility has accelerated demographic ageing.

II. Immigration from non-EEA countries measured using data on long-term residence permits

Net migration, which measures the difference between arrivals and departures of persons to and from France over the course of a year, can be broken down into the arrivals and departures of French citizens and those of immigrants.® Some individuals in the latter group are obliged to hold a residence permit to reside in France, while others are not.(3) This section examines recent trends in the arrivals of foreigners from non-EEA countries who are required to hold a residence permit and who do in fact hold one. To ensure the consistency of comparisons over time, the statistics presented below are for a constant geographical area. They therefore exclude residence permits granted previously to immigrants from countries whose nationals are no longer obliged to hold one.(4)

Flows of non-EEA nationals arriving legally in France to establish residence can be estimated from statistics on long-term residence permits and long-term visas valid as residence permits. They are based on data from the system used by the Ministry of the Interior to track the status of foreign nationals residing in France (AGDREF). The methodology used to calculate these flows is described in detail in d'Albis and Boubtane (2015). The basic principle is as follows: individuals arriving in France are counted among the inflows in the year in which they receive a first residence permit valid for one year or more. In most cases, this is the same as the year of arrival, but in some cases it is later (with a first permit allowing a longer stay).

A slight increase in the flow of arrivals

Table 1 presents flows of persons granted a residence permit valid for one year or more between 2009 and 2014. …

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