Recent Demographic Developments in France: Fertility at a More Than 30-Year High

The demographic situation in France
By France Prioux, Jonathan Mandelbaum


Metropolitan France (mainland + Corsica) numbered 61.5 million inhabitants on 1 January 2007. The population grew at a rapid rate of 6.1 per thousand in 2006, thanks to a 2.9% increase in births and a 1.4% decrease in deaths. The number of foreigners admitted as residents fell very moderately in 2005. The total fertility rate (TFR) rose 3.2% to 1.98 children per woman in 2006. Completed fertility nevertheless declined between the 1960 and 1970 cohorts, but is not expected to fall below 2 children per woman. The number of induced abortions has been revised slightly downward. Annual estimates have remained just below 210,000 since the 1990s, except for a mild increase in 2004. While the number of civil unions (PACSs) rose a further 28%, that of marriages fell 3.3%, the modest recovery in 2005 having proved short-lived. The enactment of a new divorce law was followed by a sharp rise in divorces: the total divorce rate moved up to 52.3 divorces per 100 marriages in 2005, retreating slightly to 46.9 in 2006. Life expectancy at birth gained 0.4 years to 77.2 years for men and 0.3 years to 84.1 years for women in 2006. Substantial improvements were recorded for nearly all medical causes of death in 2004, particularly cardiovascular diseases. Thanks to preventive measures, excess mortality due to the July 2006 heatwave was much lower than expected.

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