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Which French departments have more cows, pigs and sheep than people?

See maps made using data collected by France’s national statistics institute

There are more pigs than humans in several northwestern French departments Pic: ArtbyPixel / Shutterstock

There are dozens of French departments in which certain types of livestock are found in greater numbers than people, official statistics show. 

The information has been compiled using data from the national statistics institute Insee on agriculture dating to the end of 2019 and cross referencing it with population data for the same departments in 2019.

Where are there more cows than people?

It shows that in Manche, Orne, Mayenne, Meuse, Haute-Marne, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Allier, Creuse, Corrèze, Cantal, Aveyron and Lozère cows are more numerous than humans. 

In Manche, for example, there are 744,000 cattle for 492,627 residents, according to 2019 population figures also produced by Insee. 

The information has been made into map graphics by Jules Grandin, a specialist in visual ways of providing information for French media Les Echos and Quotidien.      

Five departments have more pigs than people

There are fewer departments in which pigs outnumber people, and they are mostly centred around Brittany. 

They are: Finistère, Côtes-d’Armor, Morbihan, Ille-et-Vilaine and Mayenne. 

Morbihan is home to 1,228,500 pigs, while its population totals 751,309. In Côtes-d’Armor, meanwhile, there are 2,493,400 pigs, more than four times more than the 596,518 humans. This also means that there are almost as many pigs in this department than there are humans in the whole Brittany region (3.3 million).

Four times as many sheep as people in Aveyron

Finally, sheep farming on a large scale was found to be more common in southerly areas of France, with the animals outnumbering humans in Lot, Aveyron, Lozère, Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. 

In Aveyron, there are almost four times as many sheep as people, with 991,700 of the former and only 277,900 of the latter. 

When it came to goats, however, no department saw population sizes which exceeded that of humans.

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