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.
The living conditions of median households are marked by fears regarding the future and spending is oriented towards necessities, but overall satisfaction is close to the average
While they all have access to the essential items, a non-negligible proportion of “median” households, that is to say those whose standard of living is between 90% and 110% of the median standard of living, declare to have difficulty ensuring one-off expenditures of a large amount such as replacing furniture (one in four) or going on holiday (one in five).
There are relatively diverse situations to be found in this group: two thirds declare being in financial difficulty, whereas a third consider themselves to be “doing well”. This difference is linked in part to being a home owner or not. Households in financial difficulty, which are slightly less often home owners (56%), spend proportionally more on their housing (19%), which makes up part of their forced expenditures. Financially well-off households, 64% of which are home owners, spend less of their budget on housing (13%).
Compared with other households, median households are in an intermediary position which brings them closer to modest households in some respects. The proportion of their consumption on “Foodstuffs”, “Alcohol and tobacco”, “Hotels and restaurants”, “Leisure and culture”, “Furniture” is closer to the budget of modest and poor households than to that of fairly well-off and well-off households. Moreover, people living in a median household express some pessimism regarding the future and a fear regarding the resources that they will possess for their old age, which are similar to those observed among more modest people. However, their satisfaction regarding their lifestyle is similar to that of the whole population (average grade of 7.3).