France, social portraitEdition 2017
France, Social Portrait is for everyone who would like to learn more about French society. This cross-cutting publication in the “Insee Références” collection throws the spotlight on people, neither rich nor poor, but located in the middle of the scale of standards of living in France, and often little studied. Around forty themed information sheets summarise the main data and provide European comparisons, to complete this social panorama.
Median households: greatly heterogeneous in terms of holdings, despite a comparable standard of living
In 2014, the average standard of living of median households (whose standard of living is between 90% and 110% of the median standard of living) corresponds to 87% of the average standard of living of the whole population. It is 2.3% higher than that of poor households, but reaches only 38% of that of well-off households.
From 1996 to 2014, the average standard of living of median households increased by 17% in constant euros. This increase is smaller than that observed for well-off households (+25%) but comparable to that observed for poor, modest, and fairly well-off households. Since the crisis that began in 2008-2009, the average standard of living of median households has stayed pretty much stable in constant euros.
Median households are characterised by earned income making up a large part of their disposable income (72%), which brings them closer to household groups with a higher standard of living, but they are also characterised by having a very small proportion of holdings (4%), which brings them closer to the modest and poor groups. This make-up explains in part the very limited impact of the crisis on these households’ standard of living.
At the beginning of 2015, median households had on average gross holdings of 190,000 euros. Their average gross holdings are 1.6 times higher than those of poor and modest households, but come to only 23% of those of well-off households. However, this average level of holdings is strongly heterogeneous across median households, despite their homogeneity in terms of standard of living.