Paris may be the most well-known city in France, but it is not the only one deserving of worldwide recognition. The eighth largest city in France is Montpellier and, although the city is smaller than Paris, it is attracting a growing population of people from around the world and is in some ways being compared to Paris. As France's fastest-growing city for the past 25 years, Montpellier is certainly the city to visit and to reside in if you want the Paris experience without the crowds and high tourist prices.
The most recent survey of the city's population was taken in 2007, with an earlier one taken in 1999. The population in 1999 was 207,996 people, but by 2007 the population had jumped to 253,712 people.
City Size and Population Density
Montpellier covers a total surface area of 56.88 kilometers squared (21.96 square mile).The population density of the city of Montpellier is currently 4,460.48 people per square kilometer. The city has not seen a downturn in its population since the 1960s as more and more people discover that the larger cities are quite different from some of the smaller ones in France.
Montpellier Population Demographics
The population of Montpellier reflects a demographic split of 54% female and 46% male. For most of its history, and even today, Montpellier is known for its significant Spanish population, heritage and influence. Montpellier also houses important Moroccan, Algerian, and Italian communities.
Montpellier is, in fact, a young city when looking at the age groups within its borders. The majority – 81,683 people – in Montpellier are between the ages of 15 and 29, while 39,315 of the population falls below the age of 15. The second largest age group are those between the ages of 30 and 44 at 49,171 people. The numbers decrease from that point on with 45 to 59 year olds making up 39,438 people, 60 to 74 year olds at 25,342, and 18,763 people over the age of 75.
The unemployment rates in France have been under scrutiny in recent years and the unemployment level in Montpellier is higher that of the whole country. The current unemployment rate in the city is 14.3%. That is high, but it is estimated that the increase in population and the fact that Montpellier is attracting more business every year will soon see the unemployment rate decrease. For those that have employment, the average salary is 1,836.72 per month so for those that can find employment, Montpellier can hold some great opportunities.
The University of Montpellier is one of the oldest in the world, having been founded in 1160.
Getting around a city such as Montpellier can be a little difficult when driving or walking. Luckily, the city of Montpellier has an exceptional transit system. The buses are denoted with numbers to specify their destination, but they are also painted with different designs depending on their route. This may not be like other transit systems, but it is fun for locals and tourists alike to look for the colors rather than just the numbers. The standard fare for a bus ride is $1.68, so it can be the cheapest form of travel throughout the city as well. There is an option to purchase a monthly transit card for the service and that cost is $55.90 per month, making it even cheaper to use the transit system when in the city.
In addition, the city transportation department has made bike-sharing available with numerous docks located throughout the city for the use of the public.