As of January 2012, the total population of metropolitan France (mainland and Corsica) and French overseas departments was estimated at 65.4 million inhabitants. France thus accounts for 13 percent of the European Union’s population.

Life expectancy is high and rising, at 78 years for men and 84 years for women in 2012. The French population continues to age, and the proportion of the children and young people is diminishing despite a significant number of births in recent years.


(source: National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies)



In 2010, education spending amounted to €134.8 billion. There are 64,835 preschool and primary schools, collèges (middle schools) and lycées (high schools). Some 3,600 higher education establishments exist in France.


Preschool, primary and secondary schools (2011):

12,125,300 pupils
849,647 teachers

Pupil/teacher ratio (2011): 14.3 to 1

Baccalauréat pass rate (2012 estimate): 84.3 percent

Higher education:

2,382,000 students
97,613 teaching staff

Enrollment rates (2011):

100 percent of 3-year-olds
94.2 percent of 16-year-olds
51.9 percent of 20-year-olds




Health is a major priority. France spent €240.3 billion ($312.6 billion) in health expenditures.
Consumer care and medical goods accounts for three quarters of this spending, reaching an amount of €180 billion ($233.86 billion).




France has a total workforce of some 29.5 million, by a 2011 estimate. Within this category, 25.1 million are wage and salary earners, 2.2 million are non-salaried wage earners.

Breakdown by type of employment:
3.8 percent agriculture
24.3 percent industry
71.8 percent services




The French Republic is a secular state where all religious faiths and denominations are represented.

Roman Catholic: 83 percent - 88 percent
Muslim: 5 percent - 10 percent
Protestant: 2 percent
Jewish: 1 percent
Unaffiliated: 4 percent



Fertility rate: 2.01 children born/woman (2011)
Birth rate: 12.7 births/1,000 population (2011)
Life expectancy: 84 years old for women, 78 years old for men (2012)
Marriages: 241,000 (2011)
Marriage Rate: 3.7 marriages/1,000 population (2011).
Divorces: 133,909 (2010)
Divorce rate: 10.9 divorces/1,000 marriages (2010)


Population breakdown by age (January 1, 2012)
24.5 percent under 20 years old
52 percent 20 to 59 years old
23.4 percent 60 years old and over
Average age: 40.4 years (2012)




The French Social Security system was introduced in 1945. It is based on the principle of solidarity which guarantees financial protection against hardships of financial, health and other kinds. In order to better address new demographic trends, the pension system underwent a major overhaul which was adopted as law in July 2003.
It covers health insurance, compensation for occupational injuries and illnesses, pensions and family benefits. These four main branches of the social security system are completed by the collection of social contributions and cash management.

In 2011, total net expenditures amounted to €320.3 billion ($416.13 billion) for the general scheme and are estimated at €442.2 billion ($574.51 billion) for all schemes combined in the most recent amending Social Security financing bill. The French social security system is financed by social contributions paid by employers and employees, a general social welfare contribution (CSG) and various other contributions and taxes.



Approximately 1.8 million people in France—8 percent of the working population—are union members. This is one of the lowest percentages in the European Union.

The main centralized trade unions are:

the CGT (Confédération générale du travail),

the CFDT (Confédération démocratique du travail),

FO (Force ouvrière),

the CFTC (Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens)

the FSU (Fédération syndicale unitaire).

Source :

Useful websites:

For further information:

Ministry of Employment and Solidarity

Ministry of Education

National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE)

Dernière modification : 10/08/2020

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