Page last modified 18 August 2023

 

France

Community

Historic Area square kilometres


537,699 (1801)

536,464 (1872)

550,986 (1921)


Present Area

551,695 square kilometres, excluding non-European dependencies (land area, excluding water and glaciers, 543,941square kilometres)

Population,


12,000,000 (1200)

21,000,000 (1340)

14,000,000 (1470)

16,000,000 (1600)

19,660,300 (1700)

25,200,000 (1770)

27,349,003 (1801)

30,461,975 (1821)

32,569,223 (1831)

34,230,178 (1841)

35,783,170 (1851)

37,386,313 (1861)

36,102,064 (1872)*

37,672,048 (1881)

38,342,948 (1891)

38,961,945 (1901)

39,604,992 (1911)

39,209,518 (1921)

41,834,923 (1931)

41,907,056 (1936)

40,506,639 (1946)

42,777,174 (1954)

46,621,700 (1960)

51,960,000 (1970) +11.5%

55,161,000 (1980) +6.2%

58,236,000 (1990) +5.6%

60,913,000 (2000) +4.6%

65,028,000 (2010) +6.8%

67,392,000 (2020) +3.6%


*In 1871 France ceded Alsace and Lorraine to Germany; a loss of 1,600,000 people and 5,590 square kilometres.

Ethnicity, A law dating from 1789, and reaffirmed in 1958, makes it illegal for the French Government to collect data on ethnicity. Estimates of ethnicity are compiled by NGOs.

 

African

Maghreb

African

Sub-Saharan

Asian

White

2004

10.0

3.5

1.5

85.0

Religion,

 

Christian

Protestant

Christian

R C (1)

Jewish

Muslim

Sunni

None

1873

 

 

0.1

 

0.2

1900

2.2

97.1

0.2

0.1

 

1908

 

 

0.2

 

 

1937

 

 

0.4

 

 

1947

 

 

0.6

 

 

1967

 

91.0

 

1.0

6.0

1970

2.0

80.3

1.0

 

9.0

1986

1.0

81.0

 

 

 

1990

 

74.0

 

2.0

18.0

2007

 

62.0

1.0

4.0

 

2016

2.0

55.0

0.8

5.6

35.0

(1) The % of the population that is Catholic and attends church at least once a month fell from 25% in 1967 to 6% in 2016

 

Birth and death rates Below replacement rate = 2.1

 

Fertility Rate

Birth

Rate

Infant

Mortality

Death

Rate

% Aged

Under 15

% Aged

Over

65

% Urban

1700

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.1

1780

 

 

 

 

 

 

22.3

1800

 

 

 

 

 

 

23.4

1845

 

27.3 (+4.1)

 

23.2

 

 

 

1851

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.5

1861

 

 

 

 

 

 

28.0

1865

 

26.4 (+2.8)

165.0

23.6

 

 

 

1875

 

25.4 (+1.7)

 

23.7

 

 

 

1881

 

24.0

 

 

 

 

34.8

1885

 

23.9 (+1.8)

 

22.1

 

 

 

1895

 

22.2 (+0.7)

 

21.5

 

 

 

1900

2.2

21.7 (+2.2)

145.0

19.5

26.1

 

38.0

1910

1.9

18.1 (-0.9)

 

19.0

 

 

 

1920

 

 

 

 

 

 

46.0

1930

2.6

16.5 (+0.8)

73.0

15.7

 

 

50.5

1940

2.4

 

 

 

 

 

53.0

1945

 

 

108.0

 

 

 

 

1950

2.1

20.0 (+7.0)

45.0

13.0

22.7

11.4

55.0

1960

2.1

18.0 (+6.6)

23.6

11.4

26.3

11.6

61.9

1970

2.3

16.0 (+5.2)

15.0

10.8

24.8

12.8

71.1

1980

1.9

14.0 (+3.8)

10.2

10.2

22.1

13.9

73.3

1990

1.8

12.8 (+3.5)

7.4

9.3

19.9

14.0

74.1

2000

1.9

13.1 (+4.2)

4.4

8.9

18.8

16.0

76.9

2010

2.0

12.3 (+3.8)

3.5

8.5

18.4

16.8

78.3

2015

2.0

12.0 (+3.0)

3.4

9.0

18.3

18.9

79.5

2017

1.9

11.4 (+2.4)

3.4

9.0

 

 

 

2018

 

 

3.4

 

18.0

20.0

80.4

Life expectancy,


40.2 (1820); 39.4 (M), 41.0 (F)

39.7 (1840); 38.2 (M), 41.3 (F)

41.6 (1860); 40.4 (M), 42.7 (F)

42.7 (1880): 41.5 (M), 43.9 (F)

47.0 (1900); 45.4 (M), 48.9 (F)

50.4 (1910); 48.5 (M), 52.4 (F)

56.6 (1930); 54.3 (M), 59.0 (F)

68.1 (1953); 65.0 (M), 72.1 (F)

69.9 (1960); 66.6 (M), 73.3 (F)

71.7 (1970); 68.0 (M), 75.5 (F)

74.1 (1980); 70.1 (M), 78.2 (F)

76.6 (1990); 72.6 (M), 80.8 (F)

79.1 (2000); 75.3 (M), 83.0 (F)

81.7 (2010); 78.2 (M), 85.3 (F)

82.7 (2020); 79.8 (M), 83.5 (F)


Population of principal cities, 1,000s

 

Bordeaux

MA

Clermont Ferrand

MA

Grenoble1

MA

Le Havre

MA

1750

64

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1850

142

 

30

 

 

 

80

 

1872

191

 

33

 

35

 

 

 

1886

235

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1891

248

 

 

 

57

 

117

 

1901

257

 

53

 

69

 

130

 

1936

258

 

101

 

96

 

164

 

1946

254

 

109

 

102

 

107

 

1950

 

385

 

133

 

128

 

157

1954

258

 

113

 

116

 

140

 

1960

 

451

 

154

 

210

 

210

1968

267

555

149

204

162

332

200

247

1975

226

612

161

253

170

389

220

264

1982

211

640

151

256

159

392

200

255

1990

213

696

 

 

154

404

 

 

1999

219

754

141

258

156

419

193

249

2006

232

803

 

 

156

428

183

238

2011

 

 

 

211

 

 

 

250

2013

 

1,195

 

 

163

 

 

 


1Grenoble was originally known as Cularo in pre-Roman times; the city changed name to Gratianopolis (from the Roman Governor, Gratian) under the Roman occupation of Gaul, from which the present name derives.

 

Lille

MA

Lyon

MA

Marseille

MA

Montpellier

MA

1720

 

 

 

 

90 to 502

 

 

 

1750

54

 

115

 

 

 

 

 

1850

132

 

254

 

193

 

 

 

1860

 

 

 

 

 

260

40

 

1872

153

 

330

 

 

 

54

 

1890

201

 

398

 

 

 

66

 

1901

215

 

459

 

491

 

76

 

1936

201

 

570

 

914

 

 

 

1946

189

 

571

 

636

 

93

 

1950

 

322

 

583

 

674

 

 

1954

195

 

471

 

661

 

98

 

1960

 

414

 

827

 

762

 

 

1968

191

881

528

1,075

964

964

162

171

1975

177

936

463

1,171

914

1,071

196

211

1982

174

936

418

1,221

878

1,111

201

221

1990

178

959

422

1,262

808

1,231

 

 

1999

191

1,001

453

1,349

807

1,350

229

288

2006

226

1,028

473

1,456

839

1,457

252

318

2012

229

 

500

 

850

 

275

 

2014

 

 

 

2,265

 

1,578

 

 


2In May 1720 almost half the population of Marseille (founded 600 BCE by Greek colonists) died of the Plague, after it arrived on a ship from Syria. Fortunately this outbreak of the Plague failed to spread much beyond Provence and by late 1721 had ceased.

 

Nantes

MA

Nice

MA

PARIS1

MA

1200

 

 

 

 

80

 

1500

 

 

 

 

100

 

1600

 

 

 

 

200

 

1700

 

 

 

 

500

 

1800

80

 

24

 

550

 

1816

 

 

 

 

622

 

1824

 

 

 

 

750

 

1830

 

 

 

 

770

 

1842

84

 

34

 

1,000

 

1851

 

 

 

 

1,053

 

1862

114

 

37

 

1,069

 

1872

 

 

42

 

1,852

 

1881

 

 

 

 

2,269

 

1890

116

 

88

 

 

 

1901

133

 

105

 

2,714

 

1936

195

 

215

 

2,830

 

1946

200

 

211

 

2,725

 

1950

 

212

 

 

 

6,000

1954

228

 

244

 

2,850

 

1960

 

306

 

 

 

7,287

1968

259

394

322

393

2,591

8,197

1975

254

453

347

438

2,317

8,550

1982

247

465

338

450

2,189

8,707

1990

252

496

346

517

2,175

9,319

1999

278

545

346

889

2,148

9,800

2006

283

569

347

940

2,125

 

2010

 

 

 

 

 

10,410

2013

303

613

344

1,004

2,229

10,601

 

Nantes

MA

Nice

MA

PARIS1

MA

1Paris is named after the local Gallic Parisii tribe.

 

Rennes1

MA

Rouen

MA

Saint

Etienne

MA

Strasbourg

MA

1750

 

 

88

 

 

 

56

 

1862

34

 

95

 

 

 

 

 

1872

49

 

102

 

 

 

 

 

1891

65

 

112

160

 

 

123

 

1901

75

 

116

 

147

 

151

 

1936

99

 

123

 

190

 

193

 

1946

114

 

108

205

178

 

174

 

1950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

212

1954

124

 

117

 

182

 

201

 

1960

 

 

 

 

 

262

 

287

1968

181

193

120

370

213

331

249

335

1975

206

229

118

389

222

335

257

365

1982

200

234

105

380

207

317

252

252

1990

204

 

105

380

 

 

256

388

1999

212

272

109

390

184

292

267

427

2006

210

283

108

389

177

286

273

440

1Rennes was formerly the capital of Brittany.

 

Toulon

MA

Toulouse

MA

Valenciennes

MA

1335

 

 

30

 

 

 

1435

 

 

8

 

 

 

1861

85

 

113

 

 

 

1872

 

 

 

 

22

 

1901

101

 

149

 

23

 

1936

150

 

213

 

 

 

1946

126

 

264

 

 

 

1950

 

183

 

270

 

 

1954

141

 

269

 

 

 

1960

 

209

 

311

 

163

1968

175

340

371

440

47

224

1975

185

378

383

501

43

351

1982

182

410

354

541

41

350

1990

170

438

366

650

39

338

1999

166

520

398

761

42

357

2006

168

543

438

851

42

356

2009

 

559

 

 

 

 

2011

164

 

 

 

 

 

2013

 

 

466

935

43

400

Wealth; Gross Domestic Product (nominal values)

 

GDP,

US$ million

Total GDP,

% of USA

GDP per capita,

US$

GDP per capita

% of USA

1700

90 UK�

 

 

 

1914

6,000

 

153

 

1948

17,336

7.76

418

27.41

1956

39,970

11.16

 

 

1960

62,650

11.53

1,340

44.56

1965

102,160

13.74

2,000

52.25

1970

146,630

14.10

2,899

55.25

1975

351,350

21.49

6,681

85.43

1980

681,520

24.38

12,701

100.82

1985

531,930

12.63

9,466

51.81

1990

1,216,610

20.96

21,700

90.59

1995

1,554,820

21.01

26,900

89.46

2000

1,289,100

12.94

22,465

61.63

2005

2,110,200

16.12

34,880

78.72

2010

2,646,800

17.69

40,700

84.14

2015

2,433,560

13.49

36,526

64.98

2016

2,465,450

13.28

36,855

64.13

GDP by primary sector


 

Agriculture

% GDP

Agriculture

% employed

Industry

% GDP

Industry

% employed

Services

% GDP

Services

% employed

1800

 

55.0

 

 

 

 

1850

55.0

49.0

 

 

 

 

1900

43.0

42.0

 

 

 

 

1910

 

41.0

 

 

 

 

1920

 

42.0

 

29.0

 

29.0

1930

 

37.0

 

 

 

 

1940

 

37.0

 

 

 

 

1950

 

29.0

 

36.0

 

35.0

1960

 

22.0

 

39.0

 

39.0

1970

16.0

14.0

 

 

 

 

1980

 

8.0

 

39.0

 

53.0

1990

3.3

6.3

32.0

28.5

64.0

61.0

2000

2.4

3.8

29.0

28.0

72.0

68.0

2010

1.8

3.8

19.2

24.3

79.0

71.8

2016

1.6

2.4

19.6

18.3

78.8

79.3


Communications

Language Official; French

 

Arabic

Breton

French

German

Portuguese

1990

2.5

0.5

93.5

2.0

1.0

Literacy


95.3% (1900)

99.9% (1980 and after)


Physical communications � roads and railways, The first railway in France opened October 1828, from St Etienne to Andrezieux, using horse traction. The first steam railway in France opened in 1830, the first section of the St Etienne to Lyons railway (initially worked by horse and steam).The Freycinet Act of 1878 called for 150 new lines linking all urban centres, with many local narrow gauge lines being built to link towns to the nearest mainline.

First railway in Corsica opened 1888.All French railways were merged in the SNCF 1938.

 

Roads (km)

Motor vehicles

Cars

Commercial Vehicles

Railways

(km)

%

Electric

1840

 

 

 

 

411

 

1850

 

 

 

 

2,982

 

1860

 

 

 

 

9,414

 

1870

 

 

 

 

17,407

 

1880

 

 

 

 

23,609

 

1890

 

 

 

 

32,913

 

1900

 

 

 

 

36,814

 

1910

 

 

 

 

38,915

 

1920

 

 

 

 

41,617

 

1930

 

 

 

 

42,217

 

1938

631,000

 

 

 

42,283

7.8

1940

 

 

 

 

40,017

 

1947

 

 

953,132

696,983

 

 

1950

 

2,295,000

 

 

41,317

9.9

1956

 

4,900,000

3,246,000

 

 

 

1960

664,800

 

 

 

39,350

16.4

1961

 

 

6,158,411

1,722,513

38,620

 

1964

 

10,846,400

 

 

 

 

1970

784,006

 

 

 

 

 

1977

799,380

 

16,990,000

2,175,000

34,150

 

1980

804,256

 

18,440,000

2,360,000

34,462

18.8

1986

 

 

 

 

34,541

33.3

1990

 

 

23,300,000

4,790,000

34,070

35.8

2000

893,100

33,090,000

28,060,000

5,673,000

31,500

45.9

2007

 

37,033,000

30,700,000

6,270,000

 

 

2010

1,028,500

37,744,000

31,394,000

 

29,640

51.8

2013

 

38,200,000

 

 

29,640

 

2014

 

 

32,587,000

 

29,640

52.5

 

Roads (km)

Motor vehicles

Cars

Commercial Vehicles

Railways

(km)

%

Electric

TGV and urban metro systems (km). First TGV tracks laid in 1974, and first TGV train ran in 1983 (Paris to Lyons). Channel Tunnel rail services began in 1994.For 2015, 6,000 kilometres of TGV track were envisaged (2000).

 

TGV

Lille

(1983)

Lyons

(1978)

Marseilles

(1977)

Paris

(1900)

Rennes

(2002)

Toulouse

(1993)

1992

 

25.0

20.8

19.5

199.0

 

10.0

1997

1,860

 

 

 

 

 

 

2000

2,100

45.0

 

 

 

 

 

2005

 

 

29.0

19.5

211.3

9.4

12.0

2017

2,647*

45.0

32.1

21.5

214.0

9.4

28.2

*In 2017, a further 670 km TGV track were under construction.

Electronic communications, 1,000s. TV broadcasts began 1931 (colour from 1967)

 

Telephones (landlines)

Mobile Telephones

Radios

Televisions

PCs

Internet Users

1938

1,590

 

4,706

 

 

 

1944

1,849

 

 

 

 

 

1947

1,997

 

5,728

 

 

 

1950

 

 

6,890

3.8

 

 

1951

2,406

 

 

 

 

 

1960

 

 

10,981

1,902

 

 

1961

4,649

 

 

2,555

 

 

1966

 

 

22,000

7,500

 

 

1968

 

 

 

9,300

 

 

1970

8,000

 

 

 

 

 

1971

 

 

 

11,655

 

 

1976

 

 

 

14,500

 

 

1980

15,898

 

 

 

 

 

1983

 

 

 

19,000

 

 

1986

 

9

 

 

 

 

1988

 

 

49,000

 

3,100

 

1990

28,000

283

50,370

22,800

4,000

 

1995

 

1,303

52,000

34,250

8,500

 

1998

 

 

 

 

 

2,500

2000

33,987

29,000

55,900

37,000

17,920

 

2002

 

 

 

 

 

16,970

2005

 

48,058

 

 

35,000

26,150

2006

 

 

 

 

40,000

 

2008

 

 

 

 

 

40,850

2010

35,200

62,800

 

 

 

47,750

2016

39,006

65,500

 

 

 

57,227

Tourism: Visitors to France,


3,052,000 (1950)

5,613,000 (1960)

8,100,000 (1970)

16,573,000 (1974)

26,285,000 (1978)

36,818,000 (1987)

52,497,000 (1990)

60,033,000 (1995)

77,190,000 (2000)

74,988,000 (2005)

76,647,000 (2010)

84,452,000 (2015)