French population grows at slowest rate since 1945

A new report shows France's population has grown 0.4% a year from 2013 to 2018

29 January 2021
By Connexion journalist

France’s population grew by an average of 233,660 annually between 2013 and 2018 (0.4% a year), a new report from state statistics agency Insee shows.

The total population in France on January 1, 2018, was estimated at 66,733,000 people.

The 0.4% figure is a slight decline on 2008-13, when the average annual population growth was 0.5%.

Immigration accounted for 0.1% of the rise in the latest figures, while more births than deaths accounted for 0.3%, the lowest figure since 1945.

The only regions not affected were Guyane, Ile de France and Auvergne Rhône-Alpes.

By contrast, populations fell by at least 0.2% a year in 20 departments, compared to 11 in the 2013-18 report.

The most affected areas were in the north-east quarter of France, centre, on the Massif Central and Normandy but population falls were also notable in Paris, Dordogne and the Territoire de Belfort.

The strongest rates of growth were seen in cities with more than 700,000 people, with Atlantic coast cities, led by Bordeaux and Nantes, doing particularly well. Montpellier, Toulouse and Rennes attracted large numbers of new residents.

Insee also noted that work basins – the term used to study populations around towns where people travel to go to work from different administrative areas – with fewer than 50,000 people saw the biggest population falls.

Estate agents predict that the Covid crisis will see a move away from cities to the countryside in years to come

A spokesman for the Dordogne department said most months since 2018 had seen a stabilisation in population, and even some gains.

“The Insee figures are important but they do not directly affect the funding or services we can give our populations,” he said. “Our funding depends more on the number of houses bought and sold as it is the sales taxes on property transactions which provide most of our direct revenue.”

Primary schools are funded directly by communes, with teachers and policy decided by the Education Nationale in Limoges, and there are few closures in the department.

Collèges, under departmental control, are also protected.

“There is a very strong political will not to close collèges, so that people in this department, which is rural and sparsely populated, know they have a collège near to them,” he said.

“Some have more students than others, it is true, but it is the geographical spread which is important.”

The main effort to improve the attractiveness of the department was focused now on bringing fibre optic internet connections to all residents. The department has raised €450 million to implement this by 2025.

“It is a big financial commitment which shows the people of the Dordogne are determined to keep their area an attractive place to live,” he said.

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