Demographics of France

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of France, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects.

As of January 1, 2010, 65,447,374 people live in the French Republic.[2] 62,793,432 of these live in metropolitan France,[3] whereas 2,653,942 live in the French overseas departments and territories.

At the beginning of the 20th century, France's population was low compared to its neighbours, and due to its past history. However, the country's population sharply increased with the baby boom following World War II. During the Trente Glorieuses (1945–1974), the country's reconstruction and steady economic growth led to the labor-immigration of the 1960s, when many employers found manpower in villages located in Southern Europe and in the Maghreb (or North Africa). French law facilitated the immigration of thousands of colons, ethnic or national French from former colonies of North and West Africa, India and Indochina, to mainland France. 1.6 million European pieds noirs migrated from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.[4] In the 1970s, over 30,000 French colons left Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime as the Pol Pot government confiscated their farms and land properties. However, after the 1973 energy crisis, laws limiting immigration were passed. In addition, the country's birth rate dropped significantly during this time.

Since the 1980s, France has continued being a country of mass immigration. Meanwhile, the national birth rate, after continuing to drop for a time, began to rebound in the 1990s and currently the country's fertility rate is close to the replacement level. In recent years, immigrants have accounted for one quarter of the population growth - a lower proportion than in most other European countries. According to an INSEE 2006 study, "The natural increase is close to 300,000 persons, a level that has not been reached in more than thirty years. Net migration is estimated at 93,600 persons, slightly more than in 2005."[5]


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