2006 population census: growth recovers in rural areas and large cities
In the 1980s and 1990s, the main drivers of demographic growth in metropolitan France were urban peripheral areas. Today, all territorial divisions are registering growth. In 2006, the population was still concentrated around the Paris area and large urban agglomerations. But some areas remote from towns and cities are densifying at a brisk pace. The population of rural areas is rising at the same annual pace of 0.7% as France’s total population. In a parallel development, new urban-densification areas are developing adjacent to infrastructure (such as major roads) and along certain borders. Within urban areas—particularly in larger agglomerations—population growth is reviving in the central cities. In northern and eastern France and large cities, which have a younger population, the key engine of demographic growth is the substantial excess of births over deaths. The south and west remain powerful magnets, while the greater Paris area is stagnant.