Also See: Major Cities in France
The last census recording the total population of France was carried out in 2011 and the total figure for the country was declared at 65.8 million, thereby making it the twentieth most populous country in the world at that time, although this number included overseas territories and departments. The population was just 63.1 million in 2011 otherwise.
France Population 2013
In 2013, the population of France is estimated at 64,285,510, not including overseas territories, which makes it the 21st most populous country now. When censuses in France are carried out they are split into two separate sets of statistics. The overall figure in 2011 of 65,821,885 includes all the overseas territories outside of the country itself and these include Reunion, Martinique, French Guyana, Mayotte and Guadeloupe.
A second set of figures is subsequently obtained for Metropolitan France and this comprises all French territories located in Europe – effectively mainland France and the Island of Corsica. In 2011 once again, the population for Metropolitan France alone was recorded at 63,136,180 which put it 22nd on the list in world terms.
The distinction between the two sets of figures is debatable in terms of importance but they can be useful to keep apart when considering areas such as population density.
The figures reported in 2011 confirmed that France as a whole was growing at a faster rate than most other countries across the globe. In fact, its natural growth, which excludes any immigration figures, accounted for nearly the whole of the natural growth recorded in the European Union in 2003.
The birth rate exceeded the death rate by a considerable amount -- 302,432 in 2006 which was the highest recorded figure since 1973. Further contrasts in the rates led to the final figures declared in the 2011 census. The country also has the second highest number of children per family in Europe; 2.01 when the last figures were announced.
Like many of its neighbours, France represents a huge attraction for immigration and when statistics were released in 2008, it was reported that 11.8 million foreign born immigrants and their immediate descendants were resident in the country; a figure which accounted for around 19% of the total population of the time.
Exact figures in relation to this are slightly hampered by the fact that it is illegal for the French state as an entity to compile statistics when it comes to race and ethnicity. Data in relation to this is therefore supplied by independent agencies such as INED and INSEE.
What is clear however is that France’s population is growing quite significantly. Already twentieth in the global list, that large discrepancy in the birth and death rate shows no signs of narrowing and as such, it will be fascinating to see the results from the next national census.
A law from 1872 prohibits the French Republic from conducting census by making any distinction between its citizens in terms of race or religious beliefs, so French demographics can be a bit hard to determine. In 2004, it was estimated that 85% of the population of Metropolitan France was white or of European origin, with 10% from North Africa, 3.5% black and 1.5% Asian.
This law does not apply to surveys or polls, and a marketing company called Solis estimated numbers of ethnic minorities in 2009 as 5.23% Maghrebis, 2.94% black (a majority from Sub-Saharan Africa) and 0.71% Turkish.
Largest cities in France
For a country of such size, it is surprising that there is only one city proper with a population of 1 million. The largest cities in France include:
- Paris (2.2 million) The wider Paris urban area has a population of over 12.1 million in 2013.
- Marseille (853,000) While it's the second largest city in France, it has the third largest urban and metropolitan area with a population of 1.6 million.
- Lyon (484,000) Including suburbs and satellite towns, Lyon is the most populous area of France with a population of 1.7 million.
- Toulouse (449,000) This is the fourth largest metropolitan area of France with a population of 1.2 million.
France Population Growth
Metropolitan France is expected to see a population that grows by another 9 million people over the next 40 years, placing the country's population around 72 million by 2050. To reach this projection, fertility rates will need to stay about the same, mortality will need to decrease and net migration will need to remain about 100,000 annually.
With its growing population despite decreases in many of its neighboring countries, France is finally back in the race to be the most populous country in Europe. By 2050, it's expected that Germany will have just 70-74 million (compared to 2012's 82 million), while Britain's population will be about 73 million, compared to today's 63 million.