Poverty rates in France

According to INSEE, there are 8,8 million poor people in France today, or in other words, 14% of France’s population. The most exposed or at risk of poverty are the youth, single-parent families, the unemployed, and the urban population.

Poverty rates in france in 2018

In France, the poverty line is fixed at 60% of a median revenue, or 1 026€ per person. According to the latest trends posted by INSEE, 14% of the French population (8,8 million people) are considered poor. This represents an increase of more than a million people in 10 years. Along with financial difficulty, other restrictions seriously impact the quality of life for those in precarious situations. According to the barometer Ipsos/Secours Populaire 2018, 21% of the population (approximately 14 million individuals) suffer from food insecurity and do not eat three balanced meals a day. Also, a recent study published by IFOP in March 2019 showed that 3 million people have to restrict themselves from basic hygienic products, creating an important lack in adequate sanitation. Women and children are particularly concerned in both these cases. Indeed, it is evident that not everyone is impacted by poverty on the same scale.

Populations the most impacted by poverty

The unemployed and inactive are seriously impacted by poverty

If we were to measure poverty according to the “activity status”, the unemployed appear to be the most at risk of poverty. In 2016, 35% of them were poor. For those who are inactive (children, students, retired, and others), the situation is more nuanced. Except from the retired population, the rest are also impacted by precarious situations, which can be explained by revenues and/or financial reports that are usually very weak or nonexistent. Only 8% of the retired population are considered to be poor, evidence of an evolution in the amount of revenues as this rate was close to 30% in 1970. On the other hand, the employed are much better off with a poverty rate of 7,5%. However, it is important to note that the SPC (Socio-Professional Category) is at the origin of a great heterogeneity among the employed: almost a quarter (23%) of farmers, entrepreneurs and craftsmen and 18% of workers and employees are poor. Only 3% are considered poor amongst the executives.

Single-parent families and large families are particularly touched

Poverty also gravely impacts single-parent families. Although they only represent 23% of families, 35% of them are in precarious situations. This rate was only 25% 20 years ago. When the head of the family is an inactive woman (which is the case for 49% of these families), poverty rates escalate to 71%. Follow large families (with more than 3 children) and people who are alone. On the other hand, co-parenting families with less than 3 children are more protected as less than 10% of these families are poor.

Risk of poverty decreases with age

Generally, it is noticed that one’s risk of poverty diminishes with age. Today, 20% of minors are considered poor and this number varies depending on the number of siblings and age. Young adults (18-24 years) are by far the most at risk, as a quarter of them live under the poverty line. This number, which was 17% in 2001 is the result of an increase in youth’s unemployment rate, going from 16% to 21% in nearly 15 years. Poverty rates then decrease for older age groups going under 15% and even 10% in the case of the elderly (after 65 years old).

Urban zones in precarious areas

In terms of geographical location, we can see that poverty is first and foremost present in urban zones, which was not the case 10 years ago. More precisely, poverty is concentrated in cities with more than 20 000 citizens: in 2016; poverty rates were 17,3% compared to 12,4% in little communes (-20 000 citizens) and 9,9% in rural communities. Result: 65% of poor people live in big urban zones, essentially in big industrial regions, big cities, and regions with immigration coming from the North-East of France and areas around the Mediterranean. In this regard, we can note that two groups are especially impacted by the precarious conditions present in urban zones. On one hand, the immigrant population, and on the other hand, the habitants coming from des Quartiers Prioritaires de la Ville (QPV) which are essentially very deprived neighborhoods that receive government funding. Both these categories are three times more destitute than the national average (respectively 38,6% and 42%).



Credits : Ben Wicks, Unsplash.