Inter-Regional Migration Flows in France over the Last Fifty Years

Using census data to measure mobility and second home ownership
By Brigitte Baccaïni, Catriona Dutreuilh


Data from successive censuses give a picture of internal migration in France over the last fifty years. After twenty years of decline, residential mobility has been increasing over the last ten years, among the under-40s especially. The patterns of regional migration have changed radically since the 1950s. The Paris region, once the most attractive region of France (with strongly positive net migration) is now the least attractive, with many more departures than arrivals. The western regions, on the other hand, which posted a negative migration balance in the 1960s, are attracting an increasing number of migrants. The north-east remains unattractive, while the south has maintained a strongly positive migration balance. This overall picture varies by age group however, and the Paris region is still the most attractive region for the 20-29 age group. Net migration varies as a result of changes in the numbers of arrivals and departures, and these two components follow different patterns from one region to another. In the Paris region for example, the decrease in net migration over the last fifty years is due mainly to a sharp increase in the number of departing Parisians, since the number of migrants arriving from the provinces has fallen only slightly.

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