Characteristics of Migration Flows to France Based on Residence Permit Data (1998-2013)

The demographic situation in France
By Hippolyte d’Albis, Ekrame Boubtane, Madeleine Grieve

In this article, administrative data on residence permits are analysed to calculate flows of legal permanent migration to France from third countries. The authors describe and discuss the AGDREF database, a national database of foreign nationals residing in France, as well as the methodological assumptions underpinning their calculations. Annual migration inflows and outflows are calculated for the period 1998-2013 on the basis of information on residence permits with a validity of at least one year extracted annually from the AGDREF database. The study breaks down the inflows by migrants’ age, gender and nationality, and by residence permit duration and reason for admission. Inflows peaked in 2003-2005 and have fallen slightly since. A total of 192,419 legal migrants entered France in 2013. The majority of legal permanent immigrants are young adults from African countries who come to France for family reasons or to pursue their education. Over the period 1998-2013, estimated outflows were consistently smaller than inflows.


  • immigration
  • inflows
  • outflows
  • France
  • residence permits
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