France, Social Portrait2015 Edition
France, Social Portrait is for everyone who would like to learn more about French society. This cross-cutting publication in the “Insee Références” collection gives a broad overview of the social situation in France.
The feeling of financial well-being of households: stable over generations, but fluctuating during life
In metropolitan France, six households in ten felt less financially comfortable in 2011. Despite an economic environment which has varied greatly over 30 years, the opinion of households on their financial situation has remained remarkably stable since 1979. For a given qualification level, the most recent generations may be less well-off than the oldest generations, but as the average level of education has increased since 1979, the feeling of financial well-being at all levels of education changed little on average by generation. On an individual level, the standard of living of course remained the most important factor in a feeling of financial well-being, like 30 years previously. But more subjective factors were also involved, like the household's perception of a recent change in its standard of living. The concerns of households differed according to whether or not they were experiencing budgetary difficulties. If they had additional resources, more than a fifth of households who had difficulties spent more on food, primarily. If financial well-being did not deteriorate following the 2008 economic crisis, households expressing difficulties declared more often that they wanted to spend more on food in 2011 than in 2006. The opinion of a household with regard to its financial well-being varied throughout life, because the factors influencing this fluctuated as well (income, family structure, etc.). For a particular qualification and generation, the first decades of adult life saw the financial constraints experienced worsen, even though household income was rising too. It was between the ages of 40 and 44 that households felt least well-off financially.