De jure population of French municipalities: 63,235,568 inhabitants at 1 January 2006
The population figures for France’s 36,685 municipalities (communes) were officialized 30 December 2008 by a decree published in the Journal Officiel and took legal effect on 1 January 2009. Since 2004, France conducts its population census using a new method based on two procedures: annual census surveys and sample surveys (in municipalities of more than 10,000 inhabitants). The figures are essential, particularly for the management of municipalities and intermunicipal entities. They serve as a reference for over 350 legislative and regulatory provisions. The new figures put the number of people living in France on 1 January 2006 at 63,235,568, three million more than in the 1999 census. Small municipalities form the most numerous category, but they comprise only a small share of the population. The 27,400 municipalities of under 1,000 inhabitants are home to 15% of the population, the same percentage as in the 39 municipalities of more than 100,000 inhabitants. The average population per municipality is lower in France than in the European Union as a whole, at 1,700 versus 4,000 in the EU 27.