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FRANCE EXPLAINED

Population of France ‘set to peak in 2044’

The population of France is set to grow slowly but steadily until 2044, when an ageing demographic will prompt a decline if current fertility and immigration rates hold, the country's national statistics office said on Monday.

France's population is ageing
France's population is ageing. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

That would see the current population of 67.4 million rise to a peak of 69.3 million before reversing, the INSEE agency said in delivering forecasts for the next 50 years.

The forecast assumes a continued fertility rate of around 1.8 births per woman, already one of the highest in the European Union.

It also foresees new arrivals compensating for a projected decline in births starting in 2035.

READ ALSO Births, marriages and many deaths: What happened to France’s demographics in 2020?

France and other Western nations have seen a steady erosion of fertility rates over the past decade as fewer women have children and families have got smaller.

For years the government has tried to encourage births by offering family allowances and heavily subsidised child care, while also providing bigger tax breaks for larger families.

But its fertility rate remains below 2.1, the threshold experts say is needed to maintain population levels.

INSEE said that if the rate increased to 2.0, France would have 4.1 million more people by 2070 compared with its central forecast.

An “inevitable” development by 2040, however, will be “a continued ageing of the population,” the agency said.

By then, there will be an estimated 48 to 53 retirees over 65 for every 100 working-age adults, up from 37 currently.

Member comments

  1. Sounds like France should accept Britain’s offer to return their migrants before the pension age is put up.

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READER QUESTIONS

Don’t ask Google, ask us: Why is France in Mali?

In this mini series, The Local answers common questions that comes up when you start typing questions with "France" or "the French" into the Google search engine.

French soldiers in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane.
French soldiers in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane. Photo: Florent Vergnes/AFP

Why is France . . . in Mali?

You might not immediately associate the west African country with France, but in fact France has had a major military presence there since 2013 and ‘why is France in Mali’ is the third most popular suggestion from Google when we asked ‘why is France’.

Commonly referred to in the French media by its army name of Opération Barkhane, the French military operations in Mali have been the source of some controversy and political tension for several years, and in February 2022 president Emmanuel Macron announced the end of operations in Mali and the withdrawal of French troops.

Mali, in West Africa, is one of the 25 poorest countries in the world and also forms part of the region known as Sahel, the region of North Africa which includes countries such as Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.

Since 2012 Sahel has been at the centre of armed conflict with jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaida and Islamic State and since 2013 French troops have been taking part in an international operation against the extremists. It is centred in Mali because of the estimated 2,000 fighters in the region, more than 1,000 are from Mali.

France has historic links with Mali – until 1960 is was a French colony – but the French military, the largest in the EU, takes part in many international operations – it has been engaged in nine countries since 2011.

Since the beginning of the operation, 52 French soldiers have died, about 8,000 civilians have been killed in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and 2 million were displaced by the fighting.

In June 2021, the French government decided that the army would progressively leave the country, a withdrawal that was accelerated in 2022 after a breakdown in relations with the ruling junta in Mali. 

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