Demographic balance sheet 2006 : A record natural increase

Lucile Richet-Mastain, Demographic Studies and Surveys division, Insee

On 1st January 2007, the population of metropolitan France and its overseas departments is estimated to have reached 63.4 million people. The number of births increased greatly in 2006 to their highest level since 1981. The decline in death rates also contributed to natural population growth, which was last equalled over thirty years ago. The fertility rate reached 2.0 children per woman, with France continuing to be one of the most fertile countries in the European Union. Marriages are declining in number, whilst Pactes Civils de Solidarité (civil partnerships) are increasingly frequent. Life expectancy is rising: it is now over 77 years for men (77.1 years old) and has reached 84.0 years for women.

Insee Première
No 1118
Paru le : 16/01/2007

A natural increase that has not been reached in more than thirty years

In 2006, the number of births in metropolitan France and in the overseas departments increased (+ 23,100 compared to 2005) and the number of deaths decreased (– 7,100). The natural increase is close to 300,000 persons, a level that has not been reached in more than thirty years. Net migration is estimated at 93,600 persons, slightly more than in 2005. As of 1st January 2007, taking into account the first three annual census surveys (Box 1), the population of France is estimated at 63.392 million persons, of whom 61.538 million live in metropolitan France. It attains 64.1 million with the inclusion of the 710,000 persons who live in the overseas territories (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Wallis and Futuna).

Nevertheless, the ageing of the French population continues. As of 1st January 2007, 10.3 million persons, or 16.2% of the population, were age 65 and older (Table 1). They accounted for less than 15% of the total population in 1994. Conversely, 15.8 million inhabitants, or 25.0% of the population, were under age 20. Despite six consecutive years of high birth rates, the percentage of the population in the youngest age category continues to decline: In 1994, 26.7% of the population was below age 20.

As of 1st January 2006, the European Union numbered 463.5 million inhabitants. France ranked second among the most populated countries, behind Germany (82.4 million) and just ahead of the United Kingdom (60.4 million) and Italy (58.8 million).

Chart – Population by age and sexe on 1st January 2007

  • Sources : Vital statistics and "Cities" survey, Insee.

Table 1 – Population by age group

Population by age group
Year Population on 1st january (in thousands) Proportion per 100
Under 20 - 64 65 years Under 20 - 64 65 years
20 years or over 20 years or over
1994 15,756.6 34,707.9 8,639.7 26.7 58.7 14.6
1996 15,638.9 34,900.4 8,983.0 26.3 58.6 15.1
1998 15,612.7 35,024.9 9,297.3 26.0 58.5 15.5
2000 15,643.5 35,331.2 9,563.2 25.8 58.4 15.8
2002 15,679.7 35,905.0 9,814.6 25.5 58.5 16.0
2003 15,694.5 36,207.9 9,929.4 25.4 58.5 16.1
2004 15,753.1 36,472.7 10,025.9 25.3 58.6 16.1
2005 15,781.0 36,705.8 10,150.8 25.2 58.6 16.2
2006 (p) 15,805.7 36,971.1 10,222.0 25.1 58.7 16.2
2007 (p) 15,836.1 37,278.7 10,277.4 25.0 58.8 16.2
  • Field : France (metropolitan France and overseas departments).
  • (p) Provisional data.
  • Sources : Vital statistics and "Cities" survey, Insee.

A number of births unequalled since 1981

In 2006, 796,800 births were registered in Metropolitan France and 34,100 in the Overseas Departments, for a total of 830,900–an increase of 2.9% in one year (Table 2). This number of births is higher than the peak reached in the year 2000 and the highest reached in twenty-five years. The number of women ages 20 to 40, who account for 95 % of births, continues to diminish (with 28,000 fewer women than in 2005, or – 0.3%), but women are having more children than before. The cyclical fertility indicator is increasing (Table 3). It reached 2.0 children per woman in 2006–the highest level in thirty years.

Table 2 – Population dynamics

Population dynamics
Year Population on 1st january Marriages Live births Deaths Natural balance Estimated migration balance Adjustment
1985 56,461.2 275.8 796.5 560.5 + 236.0 + 42 0
1990 58,029.4 294.9 793.9 534.5 + 259.4 + 77 – 52
1995 59,315.1 262.0 759.7 540.4 + 219.3 + 42 – 54
1999 60,158.5 293.7 776.5 547.4 + 229.1 + 61 + 89
2000 60,538.0 305.4 808.2 540.7 + 267.5 + 71 + 87
2001 60,963.8 295.9 804.1 541.2 + 262.9 + 87 + 86
2002 61,399.3 286.3 793.6 545.4 + 248.3 + 97 + 87
2003 61,831.8 282.9 793.9 562.6 + 231.3 + 102 + 87
2004 62,251.8 278.6 800.2 519.6 + 280.6 + 105 0
2005 62,637.6 283.2 807.8 538.2 + 269.6 + 92 0
2006 (p) 62,998.8 274.4 830.9 531.1 + 299.8 + 94 0
2007 (p) 63,392.1
  • Field : France (metropolitan France and overseas departments).
  • (p) Provisional data.
  • Sources : Vital statistics and "Cities" survey, Insee.

Table 3 – Fertility by age (per 100 women)

Fertility by age (per 100 women)
Year Cyclical fertility indicator (1) Average age at birth (2)
Total 15 - 24 years 25 - 29 years 30 - 34 years 35 years or over
1994 168.3 33.7 64.5 46.9 23.2 28.8
1996 175.0 31.9 65.5 51.9 25.7 29.0
1998 177.9 31.0 64.6 54.3 28.0 29.3
2000 189.3 33.3 66.6 58.4 31.0 29.3
2002 188.0 33.0 64.8 58.1 32.1 29.4
2003 189.1 32.4 64.6 59.3 32.8 29.5
2004 191.6 32.7 64.7 60.4 33.8 29.6
2005 (p) 194.3 32.5 64.4 62.1 35.3 29.7
2006 (p) 200.5 32.6 65.3 65.0 37.6 29.8
  • Field : France (metropolitan France and overseas departments).
  • (1) See Definitions.
  • (2) Calculated on the basis of the fertility rates.
  • (p) Provisional data.
  • Sources : Vital statistics and "Cities" survey, Insee.

France, still one of Europe’s most fertile countries

In 2005, France was–along with Ireland –one of the most fertile countries in Europe. France remains an exception, even though the trend in the European Union is an upward one–the average fertility in the European Union was 1.52 children per woman in 2005, as against 1.48 in 2000. Only a few countries in Northern Europe have a cyclical fertility indicator above 1.7 children per woman: Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. In Eastern Europe, it is often below 1.3 children per woman; this is true of Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Greece and the Czech Republic.

The number of births has increased only for mothers age 30 and above. In 2006, the mothers of 52.8% of newborns were at least 30 years of age. That percentage was 44.3% in 1996. The average age of mothers at the birth of their children continues to increase. In 2006, women gave birth at an average age of 29.8, compared to 29.0 ten years ago and 27.7 twenty years ago.

Women who have reached the end of their fertile lives have had an average of more than two children. For women born in 1956, the cumulative birth rate is 2.14 children. At age 35, these women had already had 1.96 children. Women born in 1966 had had only 1.76 children at age 35, but subsequently caught up part of the delay. They had had 1.97 children at age 40 and their cumulative birth rate will be in excess of 2 children. In 2006, women age 35 had already had an average of 1.69 children. The delay has increased, but a cumulative birth rate of at least 1.95 children per woman can be expected.

In 2006, children born of foreign mothers accounted for 12.0% of the total number of births. This proportion is a little lower than in 2005 (12.4%), but has increased slightly over the past ten years. In 1996, the proportion was 9.6%.

Marriages have decreased again

274,400 marriages were celebrated in 2006, or 8,800 fewer than in 2005 (Table 4). The increase in 2005 thus appears as an exception, and the decline observed between 2001 and 2004 has begun again. The number of marriages is at its lowest level since 1995. In eight marriages out of ten, the two spouses are marrying for the first time, but this proportion continues to decline compared to remarriages.

In 2005, mixed marriages (between a French national and a foreign national) and marriages between foreign nationals accounted for 18% of marriages. That is slightly less than in 2004, confirming the decline already observed during that year.

Marriages are still tending to take place increasingly later in life. In 2005, women married for the first time at age 29.1; men at age 31.1. The progression has been rapid–ten years ago, marriages were taking place 2.2 years earlier.

Table 4 – Marriages by previous marital status and mean age at first marriage

Marriages by previous marital status and mean age at first marriage
Year of marriage Total Previous marital status Mean age at first marriage (1)
Single men Widowed or divorced men Single women Widowed ordivorced women Men Women
1994 261 037 214 864 46 173 218 487 42 550 28.7 26.8
1996 287 308 233 930 53 378 237 329 49 979 29.5 27.4
1998 278 679 227 889 50 790 231 339 47 340 29.8 27.7
2000 305 385 248 776 56 609 252 205 53 180 30.2 28.1
2002 286 320 234 237 52 083 237 250 49 070 30.4 28.3
2003 282 927 230 439 52 488 233 574 49 353 30.6 28.5
2004 278 602 224 769 53 833 227 996 50 606 30.9 28.8
2005 283 194 225 726 57 468 229 218 53 976 31.1 29.1
2006 (p) 274 400
  • Field : France (metropolitan France and overseas departments).
  • (1) Calculated on the basis of the nuptiality rates.
  • (p) Provisional data.
  • Sources : Vital statistics and "Cities" survey, Insee.

PACS still on the increase

The number of Civil Partnerships (PACS) continues to increase. In 2005, 60,500 PACS were entered into–50% more than in 2004. In the three first quarters of 2006, 57,500 PACS had already been registered, or only slightly less than in the entire year 2005. The total number of PACS entered into since the creation of the PACS in November 1999 is 263,000. The number of dissolutions is also increasing. It was 8,700 in 2005, or 23% more than in 2004, and had already reached 6,800 in the first nine months of 2006. 33,600 PACS have been dissolved since 1999, or 12.8% of the PACS entered into.

A moderate decrease in mortality

531,100 persons died in 2006, or a reduction of 1.3% compared to 2005. The decrease affects women (– 1.7%) more than men (– 1.0%) and is particularly marked among women age 90 and above. For the third year, mortality is below what might have been expected given the ageing of the population and the prolongation of the trend seen in recent decades.

Life expectancy has passed above the threshold of 84 years for women (Table 5). With an average life expectancy of 77.1 years, men have passed the threshold of 77 years. In one year, women gained 3.5 months of life expectancy and men nearly 5 months. Thus the discrepancy between the sexes continues to be reduced. It stands at 6.9 years in 2006, or exactly one year less than ten years ago.

In 2005, with an average life expectancy of 76.7 years, the French were living an average of almost one year longer than other Europeans (75.8 years). The Italians have the greatest longevity, with 77.6 years. On the other end of the scale, the Latvians and Lithuanians have a life expectancy that is more than ten years shorter (65.6 and 65.4 years respectively). France owes its favourable situation to its women. French women live nearly two years longer than the European average (81.9 years). Only Spanish women live longer (83.9 years in 2005). On the other end of the scale, Latvian and Lithuanian women have a life expectancy of 77.4 years. Since 2004, the infant mortality rate has remained below the threshold of 4 in 1,000. With 3.8 deaths of children under the age of one year for 1,000 live births in 2006, France ranks among the best-placed countries. The European average is 4.5 in 1,000.

Table 5 – Life expectancy at various ages

Life expectancy at various ages
Year Males Females
0 year 1 year 20 years 40 years 60 years 0 year 1 year 20 years 40 years 60 years
1994 73.6 73.1 54.6 36.3 19.7 81.8 81.3 62.6 43.3 25.0
1996 74.1 73.5 54.9 36.4 19.7 82.0 81.4 62.6 43.3 25.0
1998 74.7 74.1 55.5 36.8 20.0 82.4 81.7 63.0 43.6 25.3
2000 75.3 74.6 56.0 37.2 20.4 82.8 82.1 63.3 43.9 25.6
2001 75.4 74.8 56.2 37.4 20.6 82.9 82.2 63.5 44.0 25.7
2002 75.7 75.1 56.4 37.6 20.8 83.0 82.3 63.5 44.1 25.8
2003 75.8 75.2 56.5 37.6 20.8 82.9 82.2 63.4 43.9 25.6
2004 76.7 76.0 57.4 38.4 21.5 83.8 83.1 64.3 44.8 26.5
2005 76.7 76.0 57.4 38.4 21.5 83.7 83.0 64.2 44.7 26.3
2006 (p) 77.1 76.4 57.7 38.7 21.7 84.0 83.3 64.5 45.0 26.6
  • Field : France (metropolitan France and overseas departments).
  • (p) Provisional data.
  • Sources : Vital statistics and "Cities" survey, Insee.

A slight increase in net migration

Net migration in France is estimated at 93,600 persons in 2006. This represents a slight increase compared to 2005 (+ 2,000). France has maintained its specificity in comparison to its European neighbours: Migratory movements contribute to one fourth of population growth, whereas they represent 80% of growth in the twenty-five countries of the European Union taken together.(Box 2)

Encadrés

Population estimations and annual census surveys

Annual population estimations become final when the results of a new general census become available. With the implementation of the new census method, based on annual surveys adjusted over a period of five years, the demographic situation in 2006, like that of preceding years, will be established definitively when the results of the five annual surveys of 2004 to 2008 become known. The data already collected contribute to an initial estimation of these results.

These estimations have resulted in an upward revision of the estimations based on data from the last general census in 1999 regarding population, and also net migration and the natural balance. Accordingly, as during the two preceding years, an adjustment was made. It is on the order of 436,000, and was distributed uniformly over the years 1999 to 2003. The adjustment was increased by 126,000 to take the 2006 census survey into account. The population figures since 1st January 2000 have therefore been revised upward compared to the population estimations published in January 2006 (“Demographic balance sheet 2005”, Insee Première No. 1059, January 2006).

Homeless persons, persons living in mobiles homes and mariners

In 2006, the census survey was conducted, in communities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, among homeless persons and persons living in mobile homes on land. A census survey was also conducted among mariners. These three operations, combined with the results of the data collected in communities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants in 2004, 2005 and 2006, provided a basis for estimations of the population in each of these categories.

It is estimated that the population of homeless persons is approximately 14,600, including 13,700 in Metropolitan France–an increase of approximately 3,800 compared to 1999. This increase must, however, be interpreted with caution, given the change in census modes. Homeless persons–who sleep outdoors or in places not intended for habitation– constitute a part of the total population of persons without a fixed address, a category Insee has estimated at approximately 86,000 persons in 2001. This is because the notion of “with no fixed address” also comprises persons who sleep in shelters or who alternate between shelters, hotels, staying with friends, etc. These persons are also counted either under housing units or by community. The population living in mobile homes on land is estimated at 106,000 persons, 105,000 of them in Metropolitan France, which is approximately 24,000 fewer than in 1999. Here again the change must be interpreted with caution, given the change in census modes. The population of mariners is estimated at 1,570 persons, which is a reduction of a little more than 400 persons compared to 1999.

Sources

Vital statistics: For births, marriages and deaths, Insee processes the information transmitted by town halls from their vital statistics registers. For 2006, the totality of that information is not yet available. The number of events has been evaluated by extrapolation, based on the number of events collected in a sampling of large cities for Metropolitan France (the “Cities” (“Villes”) survey) and on partial vital statistics data from the Overseas Departments. Therefore these are provisional figures.

Net migration: Insee estimates net migration, the difference between entries and exits from the national territory. In this area, administrative sources or statistics are rare. The Agence nationale de l’accueil des étrangers et des migrations (ANAEM), the Ministry of the Interior and the French office for the protection of refugees and stateless persons (OFPRA) have information on entries of nationals of countries outside the European Union. Exits of foreign nationals and movements of French and European Union nationals are not systematically counted. Insee makes use of these partial data and completes them by extrapolating from past trends, based on the censuses.

European comparisons: Information is provided by Eurostat.

Civil Partnerships: Information is provided by the Ministry of Justice.

Définitions

The cyclical fertility indicator measures the number of children a woman would have all throughout her life if the fertility rate observed during the considered year for every age remained unchanged.

The cumulative birth rate is the average number of children a generation of women would give birth to all throughout their fertile life if their mortality is not taken into account. This is the sum of the fertility rates per age of a generation.

Life expectancy at birth, or average life expectancy, is the average of ages at death of a fictive generation subject to the mortality conditions of a year.

Pour en savoir plus

The complete “Demographic balance sheet” is accessible via INSEE’s Web site (www.insee.fr, “Population” heading). It has statistics relative to France as a whole (Metropolitan France and Overseas Departments) and relative to Metropolitan France only.

Provisional monthly statistics on population, births, marriages and deaths in Metropolitan France are also available at www.indices.insee.fr under the heading “Demographie.”

Detailed vital statistics are available in the Insee Résultats collection at www.insee.fr, under the “Periodical publications” heading. The last year available is 2004 (“The French demographic situation in 2004 - Population changes”), Beaumel C., Daguet F., Richet-Mastain L. and Vatan M., Insee Résultats 55 soc., August 2006).