Saturday, 13 December 2014

French family life-the statistics

Just what constitutes a French family these days and how does it differ to New Zealand families?  Information is taken from my own observations, as well as from Le Point 9 October 2014 and national statistics provided by INSEE;  Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques, French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Research. It collects and publishes information on the French economy and society, carrying out the periodic national census. Located in Paris, it is the French branch of Eurostat, European Statistical System. INSEE was created in 1946. Le Point is a right-wing weekly political magazine.

France is a conservative country. It's only recent that Gay Marriage was legally permitted. This action saw large protest marches throughout France and they still crop up from time to time.
More than 7 out of 10 children are living with both their parents. The traditional nuclear family remains the norm. The French social security system tends to encourage baby-making and child-rearing. In 1999 17% of families consisted of one parent. This has increased to 21% in 2010. One in 10 Children live in a reconstituted family.

Forty-Five percent of families have one child, 38% have 2 children, and 17% have 3 or more children. I suspect this is higher than in New Zealand. What is especially of note is that 75% of children live with both parents.

The figures for people living alone continue to explode (as they do in NZ). Fifteen percent of adults live alone. That's more than double the  the 6% in 1966. Some of this is explained by the aging population.On average a man will spend 10 years of his life alone while for women this is 15 years.

Women with degrees are less likely to become grandmothers. This is explained by the fact that in France, the more children you have the less likely they will succeed in higher education. The less children you have the more likely they will have degrees and less children. The more education you have the more likely you will live in a same sex household. The more educated you are the more likely you will live alone even if you are in a couple relationship (rather like me and Jean-Claude).

One in five people aged 75 or more will never become a grandparent. Those who do have on average 5.2 grandchildren. There are 15.1 million grandparents in France today; 9.9m are women who become a grandmother at an average age of 54 years, while 6.2m are men becoming grandfathers at an average age of 56. The highest concentrations of grandparents can be found in Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Lorraine regions. Grandparents are least evident in Ile de France.

Of course, despite the generous encouragement, by the government to make babies in France, the economic situation makes unemployment a real possibility and this may affect things in future. 
Eleven percent of French are unemployed and the country is in a financial mess. Check out the latest figures from INSEE on gross domestic product and the business climate

A few of my female students were brave enough to say they won't be having children, even though family life is traditionally very important in France. Yes, it still is but some of the old traditions are fading. Women are working more now and so those long lunch breaks are less spent in eating several courses at home, than eating in a cafe or in the staff cafetaria. Jean-Claude may be French but he buys a lot of pre-prepared meals and the growth of facings of such products is evident in any supermarket. We don't have time to spend two hours cooking after work, even if most French don't sit down to dine until 8pm.

  And what about NZ's situation? Statistics New Zealand's latest family and household projections show that couples without children at home overtook couples with children at home in 2008 for the first time since at least World War II. Traditional families of Mum, Dad and the kids are projected to shrink further from 31 per cent of all adults aged 18 and over in 2006 to just 23 per cent by 2031.

For info on NZ families today go to:

Image source:


Osama Hamdi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments, contributions and feedback.