Recent Demographic Developments in France: Relatively Low Mortality at Advanced Ages

The Demographic Situation in France
By France Prioux, Magali Barbieri, Paul Reeve

France had 65.3 million inhabitants as of 1 January 2012, including 1.9 million in the overseas départements. The population is slightly younger than that of the European Union as a whole. Population growth continues at the same rate, mainly through natural increase. There are now more African than European immigrants living in France. Fertility was practically stable in 2011 (2.01 children per woman), but the lifetime fertility of the 1971-1972 cohorts reached a historic low in metropolitan France (1.99 children per woman), nevertheless remaining among the highest in Europe. Abortion levels remained stable and rates among young people are no longer increasing. The marriage rate is falling and the divorce rate has stabilized (46.2 divorces per 100 marriages in 2011). The risk of divorce decreases with age, but has greatly increased among the under-70s over the last decade. Life expectancy at birth (78.4 years for men, 85.0 for women) has continued to increase at the same rate, mainly thanks to progress at advanced ages. Among European countries, France has the lowest mortality in the over-65 age group, but it ranks less well for premature mortality.


  • France
  • demographic situation
  • European comparisons
  • age structure
  • fertility
  • abortion
  • marriage
  • divorce
  • mortality
  • causes of death
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