top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

Death rate for France higher in 2022 than during the pandemic

A new report reveals an increase in excess mortality rates and the causes

There were 675,000 deaths in France last year, 53,800 more than expected in a regular, pre-Covid year Pic: megaflopp / Shutterstock

The excess mortality rate was higher in 2022 than at the height of the Covid pandemic, new data from national statistics body Insee shows.

The excess mortality rate is the number of deaths that occur above the expected number over a given period.

There were 675,000 deaths in France last year, 53,800 more than expected in a regular, pre-Covid year. The excess mortality rate was 42,700 in 2021, and 48,400 in 2020.

This is despite the fact that fewer people died with Covid in 2022 (38,300) than in 2021 (59,100), meaning the rise is due to deaths from other causes.

What caused excess deaths last year?

Insee said in its report: “First of all, the year 2022, unusually, saw two flu episodes: a first, late epidemic in March-April, and a second, early one in December, whereas flu was almost non-existent in 2021.

“Furthermore, heatwaves brought about more deaths in 2022 (2,800 all causes included) than in 2021 (200). 

“High temperatures throughout much of the summer also led to deaths outside of heatwaves.”

Another factor cited behind excess deaths over the last two years is indirect effects of the pandemic, such as operations that were delayed, and a decrease in screening for other illnesses in 2020. 

Excess mortality rates remained high throughout the EU last year, but more recent data from Eurostat shows a steep fall in 2023 – 0.3% in March, compared to 6.7% in March 2022, for example.

Read more: Are you benefiting from the free cancer screening available in France?

Read more: French public health body’s tips for staying hydrated this summer

Covid situation in France

The number of Covid cases in France, meanwhile, has continued to fall in recent months.

The average daily number of new confirmed cases was 1,106 as of June 29, down 22% compared to the previous week.

Experts warn that the number of cases is most likely under-estimated as the rates of testing have fallen dramatically. 

France stopped fully reimbursing tests in March, except for vulnerable groups, such as over-65s, minors, and those with chronic illnesses.

Vaccination booster campaign from the autumn

Global attention has recently turned to the Omicron sub-variant known as Arcturus, which is behind a rise in cases in India since the start of the year, with a small number of cases detected in France. 

It is believed to be more contagious than previous variants but does not appear to be more severe.

The last Covid vaccine booster campaign for vulnerable groups, including people aged 80 and above, those who are immunosuppressed, or people in care homes, ended on June 16. 

A new campaign will be organised from the autumn.

Related articles

What happens to a French bank account after a person’s death?

Introducing euthanasia in France would be dangerous, say senators

Remote monitoring of patients in France moves into the mainstream

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France