One in 10 people in France an immigrant: statistics agency

A tenth of people living in France in 2021 were not born in the country, national statistics agency Insee said as it published its first study on immigration in a decade.

One in 10 people in France an immigrant: statistics agency
Protesters in Nantes demonstrate against a proposed immigration law. (Photo by Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP)

Almost seven million people, or 10.3 percent of all people in France that year were immigrants, meaning “born a foreigner in a foreign country”, it said.

In comparison, 6.5 percent of French residents hailed from abroad in 1968, it added.

More than a third of immigrants in France in 2021 had acquired French citizenship, Insee said.

Immigrants and their descendants had largely blended into society, and many have had children born in France, the study showed.

By the third generation, nine out of 10 only had one or two grandparents who had immigrated to France.

Migration had contributed to the country’s diverse makeup, the statistics agency’s Sylvie Le Minez said.

“A third of France’s population has a link to immigration over three generations,” she said.

While immigrants half a century ago largely hailed from southern Europe, in 2021 many had come from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, Le Minez said.

More than 12 percent of immigrants that year were born in Algeria, another 12 percent in Morocco, and 4 percent from Tunisia, the study said.

More than 8 percent hailed from Portugal, four percent from Italy, more than three percent from Turkey and some three percent from Spain, it added.

A little more than half of all immigrants were women. Most had flocked to large cities including the capital, where up to a fifth of the population hailed from abroad.

Le Minez said that despite an increase in immigration in recent years, France stood well within the European average, behind Germany and Spain.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Border rules, citizenship and a food crime: essential articles for life in France

From fears over border delays to the 90-day rule, citizenship and workers’ rights, to wildfire rules and the really rather bizarre French tacos, here are our six essential articles on life in France

Border rules, citizenship and a food crime: essential articles for life in France

May is coming to an end, June is near, and thoughts turn to that long-awaited summer break – and, as sure as strikes are strikes that means concern over border delays. This week problems in passport control at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport hit the headlines. Should travellers be worried about ongoing issues this summer?

Travel to France: Will there be French border delays this summer?

Speaking of spending time in France… Non-EU visitors to the country – which since Brexit includes Britons – are restricted to stays of less than 90 days in every 180, unless they have a visa. But just how seriously does France enforce this rule?

Reader question: How seriously does France enforce the 90-day rule?

People with strong ties to France or long-term residents may decide, at some point, to apply for French citizenship and become French – but this process is not for the faint-hearted. Applying to become French requires a lot of paperwork and proof that you meet the requirements – but when all that is done comes the feared interview which involves a (very) wide range of questions. We asked readers of The Local about their experiences.

Philosophy and cheese: What you might be asked in a French citizenship interview

In 2017 France added the droit à la déconnexion (the right to disconnect) to the country’s Labour Code. It is often cited as an example of the country’s strict workplace culture – but in reality the law is more complicated than it first appears.

Right to disconnect: Is it illegal for French bosses to contact workers out-of-hours?

The French government is set to increase enforcement of the wildfire-prevention works that are the legal obligation of property owners. Here’s what you need to know.

Wildfire prevention: The legal obligations for French property owners

France has a reputation as a gourmet paradise. But it doesn’t get everything right. Far from it. We give you – and try to explain – French tacos…

France’s national fast food: What exactly are ‘French tacos’?