Rural population share in France 2006-2018

In 2018, the rural population in France reached 19.5 percent of the total. In 2018, Europe was ranked third continent worldwide in terms of degree of urbanization. 80 percent of the European population was living in cities in 2018, but this figure is expected to decrease by 2050. In France, studies have shown that most of the population lives in urban areas, but many French citizens seemed to aspire to live in the countryside.

France: an urban country

From 2006 to 2018, the share of French residents living in rural areas kept decreasing, going from roughly 22.6 percent in 2006 to 19.5 percent in 2016. According to Insee, a municipality is rural when it does not reach the threshold of 2,000 inhabitants. In France, more than 13 million individuals were living in the countryside in 2016. In comparison, the urban population amounted to 53 million people that same year and is expected to reached 81 percent of the total by 2020.

The advantages of the countryside

A survey conducted by Ifop in 2017 showed that 46 percent of French people wanted to live in a rural town. Despite common beliefs, the countryside appears to have a lot to offer. In addition to a more pleasant living environment, the employment situation seems to be more advantageous in French rural areas. In 2017, the percentage of unemployed people reached 6.3 percent in rural areas, compared to 10.4 percent in cities. Similarly, the percentage of labor force participants is higher in rural areas.
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Share of the rural population in France from 2006 to 2018
Share of the rural population
201819.5%
201719.8%
201620%
201520.3%
201420.6%
201320.9%
201221.1%
201121.4%
201021.6%
200921.9%
200822.1%
200722.4%
200622.6%
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