More people in the big cities but fewer in Paris

France's population remained fairly stable in the five years between 2011 and 2016,  according to newly-released census results from the state statistics body Insee.

23 January 2019
By Connexion journalist

The national population, including overseas territories, reached 66,362,000 in 2016 – a growth rate of 0.4% a year on the previous census in 2011. While most of the large urban areas recorded increases (with Occitanie and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes seeing the largest rises among France’s regions), Paris bucked the trend with a decline.

The capital has 2,190,327 inhabitants but saw its population fall by an average of 0.5% – or 11,900 inhabitants – a year between 2011 and 2016. In the five years up to 2011, its population had risen by an average of 13,700 a year.

In total, 24 departments saw population declines in the period.

This comes as Insee also released its latest figures on net migration in mainland France, showing that it decreased in 2015 – meaning more people left the country than came to live here in that year.

The population figures show:

  • The Ile de France had 12,117,132 inhabitants, an increase of 0.4% on 2011, making up 18% of France’s total population;
  • Montpellier was the city whose population rose the most. A 1.7% increase in inhabitants saw the Hérault capital reach 286,098 residents
  • Bordeaux saw the second-largest population increase – its 256,045 population represents a 1.5% rise on 2011;
  • Nantes (314,611 residents) and Toulouse (482,738) both recorded population increases of 1.4%, while Rennes (222,104) saw a rise of 1.2%;
  • After the Ile de France, the most populous region is Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, with 7,916,889 inhabitants;
  • Hauts-de-France is third, with 6,006,870, followed by Nouvelle-Aquitaine (5,935,603 – an increase of 160,000 residents on 2011 figures);
  • Occitanie recorded the biggest increases, with 5,808,435 people, as of January 1, 2016 – an increase of 47,000 residents a year since 2011;
  • The populations of Brittany (3,306,529), Normandy (3,335,929) and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (5,021,928), regions popular with Britons moving to France, all remained stable over the five years.
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