How has French demography changed in 2020?

In 2020, France experienced the terribly deadly epidemic of Covid-19. But she also welcomed many births. How has this past year changed French demography?

How does French demography change from one year to the next? Has Covid-19 significantly reduced the number of people in France, or have births compensated (or even exceeded) this figure? INSEE has just published its annual demographic report and delivers his answers.

The population is growing less and less quickly

Despite the Covid-19 epidemic, the French population has continued to grow. But slower than in previous years. On January 1, 2021, there were 67,422,241 inhabitants in France. This is 0.25% more than in 2019. But between 2017 and 2018, the increase was 48%, the year after 35% and the next year, 34%. In summary, yes the population growth continues, but it has significantly decreased over the past 4 years, losing more than 20 points. Obviously, one of the main explanations for this decrease, between 2019 and 2020, is the coronavirus.

The virus has greatly increased the number of deaths in France in 2020. The latter is 658,000, or 7.3% more than the year before. The Covid-19 also has lost average life expectancy. More to men than to women. The latter have lost 0.5 years, against 0.4 for the latter. This brings us to an average life expectancy of 85.2 years for women and 79.2 years for men. It is the largest recorded decline in contemporary history.

Still more births than deaths, but by little

Births remain higher than deaths, of course, since France welcomed 740,000 babies in 2020, but by little. This gap, called the “natural balance” has never been so small. This is not entirely the fault of the disease circulating, or even the deaths in general …

Another explanation for this is that women continue to have fewer children as the years progress. Even if France is the country which records the highest number of births in Europe each year. For comparison, in 2016 783,640 babies were born. This figure continues to decrease: in 2017, it drops to 769,553, in 2018 to 758,590 and in 2019 to 753,000. The last decrease (between 2018 and 2019) was -0.7%, this time around. the birth rate fell by -1.8%.

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