Économie et Statistique n° 483-484-485The overhauled Census: progress in methodology and contribution to knowledge
Using population censuses to study demographic revival and residential migration in sparsely populated areas (1975-2011)
This article describes an analysis of demographic recovery recorded in the most sparsely populated areas of France since the 1970s. In the medium term, this highlights steady population growth until the 2000s, driven by migratory balances that were becoming more and more positive. On the outskirts of agglomerations, especially the most densely populated, residential development occurs by extension. It is made up of well-known individual profiles (young workers, intermediate professions, employees, workers, etc.), but there is also a trend towards increased social stratification according to the degree of population density in these areas. Away from the urban areas, demographic and migratory growth are also in the majority. The arrival of retired people has played a decisive role since the 1980s, and the unusual feature of the last decade is the arrival of a variety of working people in the middle and at the end of their professional career. In-depth analysis of the 2000 and 2010 decades also reveals a slowdown in migratory growth after the 2008-2009 economic crisis. This concerns all configurations of areas where population density is low, and especially the most sparsely populated areas; however, it mainly weakens recovery in isolated municipalities and small and average urban areas. Depending on the category of area, the explanation seems to be due to less inward migration by working people and/or high and medium socio-occupational groups. Recent trends, examined using detailed data from the census and annual surveys, need to be confirmed by the next migratory data from the census, which will be available in 2016 (Population census 2013). For municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, the development of annualised study methods is also a key factor for a better monitoring of the uneven trend of demographic revival.