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 reforms to national contributions and taxes introduced in 2016 effect a slight redistribution benefiting the 20% most modest
Compared to a situation in which they would not have been implemented, the new social and fiscal measures of 2016 slightly improve the standard of living of the 20% most modest people. The overall effect of these measures on the standard of living for the whole population is almost nil: the average standard of living would have been 0.2% lower in the absence of the reforms to taxes and national contributions introduced in 2016. However, each measure has varying effects depending on the position of households on the standard of living scale and on the configuration of families. The most modest households thus benefit from the implementation of the ‘employment bonus’ replacing the RSA and the Prime pour l’emploi (both French in-work welfare benefit schemes), as well as a new exceptional revaluation by 2% of the RSA, but they are penalised by budget cuts targeting housing benefits and by changes to the ways that RSA is revalued. Households with an intermediary standard of living benefit mainly from a drop in income tax due to the strengthening of the tax reduction mechanism. Finally, well-off households are more affected by the rise in pension contribution rates. Overall, the new social and fiscal measures implemented in 2016 very slightly reduce standard of living inequalities between modest individuals and the most well-off.