Recent Demographic Developments in France
France has registered a relatively high natural increase and a rather weak estimated net migration, although the number of aliens issued with residence permits has risen sharply since 1997.
While fertility has been running at nearly 1.9 children per woman for the past four years, completed cohort fertility has been dropping steeply since the 1960 cohort, and could fall below two children per woman in the 1970 cohort.
Civil unions (PACSs) are rising every year, but marriages have been decreasing since 2000. The proportion of the never-married (in legal terms) thus continues to rise from one cohort to the next. The proportion of men never having lived in a stable partnership is also on a mild uptrend, as is the age of first union formation. Marriages after union formation are becoming less common, and dissolutions more common, so that an ever greater number of men and women form several successive unions. After a period of stability, the frequency of divorce has started rising again in the past two years.
Life expectancy at birth for women (82.9 years in 2003) is rising more slowly than that of men (75.9 years). The resulting convergence should persist, as excess male mortality due to cancer is now decreasing. Because of an exceptional heat wave, 2003 witnessed about 15,000 more deaths than normal, mostly among older persons, particularly women over 75.