This page is one of the annex pages of www.understandfrance.org, the foremost site on Franco-American intercultural differences. It contains documents, facts and figures illustrating the content of some of its pages.

Facts & figures

This page contains Facts and Figures about France and the French. Some are significant, other less so....

(credit)  
 
 
 Miscellaneous facts and figures   Religion....

Urban and social problems : in the midst of violent urban riots, a newspaper (Le Parisien, Nov.3,2005) listed " Ten Reasons For Hope ", identifying successful actions to reduce social tensions in the poorest areas. Among them :

  • " Positive examples " : there are more and more examples of individual successes in Arab and Black communities : singers and sportsmen but also businessmen and professionals
  • " Older Brothers " are people with a job (civil servants, social workers, etc..) who devote part of their time to helping younger members of their community
  • " Houses " : dramatic changes in the urban environment : every year, thousands (around 10,000) of ugly apartment buildings are destroyed and replaced by inexpensive houses for lower middle class
  • "Internships " are offered to the best students in high schools located in sensitive areas so they can benefit from better conditions of life and work
  • " Access to Elite Schools " : the most prestigious schools ("grandes Ecoles) have special programs to give access to bright students who would not consider applying due to lack of information (Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris : 10 to 20 every year, ESSEC Business School : patronage by students) ; two of the few French affirmative action programs
  • " Zones Franches " : around 85 tax-free industrial areas have been created, attracting jobs in the most depressed urban districts
  • Other reasons include : " Feminine Actions ", " Inter-religion Actions " (Muslim-Jewish or Christian-Muslim initiatives), " Vacations " (for the poorest children) and " Culture "

Glossary :

ZEP (Zone d'Education Prioritaire) : areas with a high proportion of poor minorities of immigrants in schools

ZUS (Zone Urbaine Sensible) : areas with particulalrly difficult urban problesm (751 ZUS in France with 5 million inhabitants)

Pôle Emploi (formerly ANPE) : the public agency in charge of the policy for the un-employed (20 % of people living in a ZUS are un-employed)

About Islam in France ...

  • According to a survey among professionals and French managers, 65% have observed incidents based on religion in the workplace (the number was 50% a year before) ; the first category of incidents, the larger, relates to individual behavior (the veil 21%, paid leave for religious ceremonies 18%, changes in work hours for religious reasons 14%, prayers during break times 8%); the second category relates to facts that are in contradiction with the organization of the firm or with legal obligations (ostracizing someone for his/her religion 7%, proselytism 6%, refusal to do certain tasks 6%, to work under a female manager 5%, praying during work time 5%, refusal to work with a female colleague 4% or a male colleague 3%) (Randstad & OFRE/Observatoire sur le Fait Religieux en Entreprise study Sept.2016)

  • According to a recent survey among French Muslims, 46% can be considered fully integrated in the French society, 25% are more religious (but not favorable to niqab) and a surprisingly high 28% think that "charia must prevail on the laws of Republic" ; among French Muslims,40% believe that employers must adjust to the religious obligations of their employees, 14% of women refuse to be treated by a male doctor, etc. (Survey IFOP Sept.2016 for Institut Montaigne)

  • More to come ....

 
  • About "laïcité" (secularism), the opinion of the French is reflected in these answers (CSA poll, Feb.2005)
    • Is the principle of "laïcité" threatened in France ?
      • Yes, quite : 25%
      • Yes, rather : 33%
      • Not really : 21%
      • Not at all : 19%
    • For you, what is "laïcité" ?
      • To ensure all religious are treated equally : 32%
      • To separate religion and politics : 28%
      • To ensure freedom of thought : 28%
      • To diminish the influence of religions : 9%
    • What do you think of the following statements :

 It would be...

 Rather good  Rather bad  Don't know
All visible religious signs should be forbidden to all employees of public administrations

 62%

 34%

 4%
Taxpayer money should contribute to building churches, mosques, synagogs, temples,...

 39%

 57%

 4%
People belonging to non-christian religions should be entitled to have different holidays

 30%

 64%

 6%

More about religion.

  • The image of Islam in France and in Germany in 2016 (Source : IFOP/Figaro 29/4/2016)
 
France
Germany
a. The presence(1) of a Muslim community is a threat ..
47% (+5)
43% (+3)
.... or a cultural enrichment
19% (-3)
b. Opposed to the building of new mosques (2)...
52%(+13)
49%(-1)
.... or favourable
13% (-7)
c. Opposed to the Islamic veil in the streets ...
63%(+4)

45%(+3)

..... or favourable
9%(=)
d. The influence and the visibility of Islam are too important ...
63%(+8)
48%(-1)
... or not enough
5%(+1)
e. The persons of Muslim origin are considered not well integrated in the society ...
68%(=)
71%(-4)
.... or well integrated
32%(=)

(1) : between 4 and 5 million in France (2) : 2,500 in France

Among the main reasons which explain the poor integration of people of Muslim origin in the society :

Their own refusal to be integrated
67%(+6)
60%(-7)
Too much cultural differences
45%(+5)
48%(+14)
The fact that they live in the same neighborhoods and go to the same schools
35%(-2)
33%(+1)
The economic crisis and the lack of labor opportunities
19%(-1)
6%(-4)
The racism and the close-mindedness of the nationals
14%(-4)
14%(-1)
Not enough money and programs from the Government
3%(+1)
7%(+2)
 Various aspects of the French society    
  • The French passion for equality is illustrated by the following numbers (inequality is measured by the ratio of income after tax of the 10% richest to the 10% poorest or by the Gini Index : 0= perfect equality) :
      10% richest Gini Index
     

     1980
    2000
    2008

    1985/2008

     USA

     4,7
    5,5
    0,38

     +0,5%

     Israel

     4,0
    5,0

     Spain

     4,4
    4,8
    0,31

      -0,5%

    Italy
     
    0,34
    +0,4%
    Japan
     
    0,33
    +0,4%
    Canada
     
    0,32
    +0,4%

     U.K.

     3,5
    4,6
    0,34

    +0,8%

     Taiwan

     3,2
    3,8

     

     France

     3,4
    3,5
    0,29

     -0,1%

     Germany

     2,9
    3,3
    0,30

     +0,7%

     Sweden

     2,4
    2,9
    0,26

    +1,1%

    (Source : Capital Janvier 2012 & Le Monde 3/5/2006)
  • Conclusion :
    • some countries are "more unequal" (USA) than others (Sweden)
    • inequality has progressed everywhere over the past 25 years
    • except in France (according to Marseille, the ratio was 4,8 in 1970) and Spain
  • Examples of the French passion for the State :
    • In October 2008, in a popular talk show on TV, someone says "Salaries are too low in France" ; the journalist replies : "There is nothing I can do about it : I am not the Minister of Finance". Translation : in France, salaries are considered the responsibility of the government.
    • more to come
  • Contraceptive methods
% (men + women) France USA Japan China
No contraception
23.6
23.6
45.7
15.4
Sterilization
4.6
33.1(°)
1.9
33.2
Pill
40.6
16.3
1
1.2
IUD
18.9
5.2
0.9
40.6
Condom
7.9
6
40.7
8.5
Traditional methods
2.3
11.8
16.8
0.6
Others
2.1
4
8.6
0.5
Total
100
100
100
100
(°) : this number is very surprising...

(Source : UNO 2013 / Le Figaro 26/9/2015)

 

 

 

 

 

 
  • Example of local taxes in Paris in 2005
     2005, in US $  Studio 30 sq.m (300 sq.f.) gentrified neighborhood  3 bedroom 100 sq.m. (1000 sq.f.) bohemian trendy neighborhood
     Taxe foncière (owner)

     400

     1,200
     Taxe d'habitation (occupant)

     380

     1,400

 

  • Retirement : a comparison between private and public sectors (2006) (Source : Figaro Magazine June 3, 2006) 
       Private sector  Civil servants  State-owned utilities(*), called "régimes spéciaux"
     Number of years of work

     42

     40

     37,5
     Average age of retirement

     61 y. 9mo.

     57 y. 9mo.

     54 to 55 y.
     Employee's withdrawal on salary

     10,35%

     7,85%

     <7,85%
     Base for valuation of pension  25 best years  6 last months  between last and 6 last months
     Index for pension

     prices

     prices

     salaries
     Reduction per year for early retirement  10% (2005)  3% (2012)

     none
     Right to have a job when retired

     limited

     no limit

     no limit
     Average pension (Euros)

     1,465

     1,832
     1,530 / 2,119

(*) Electricity (EDF), rail transport (SNCF), mass transit (RATP) (for certain categories of the latter, the system is even more advantageous)

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books:

  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

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