In 2020, the rural population in France reached 19.02 percent of the total. Although the rate is very high, France has an urbanization rate equivalent to its European neighbors. In 2020, Europe was ranked third continent worldwide in terms of degree of urbanization. 75 percent of the European population was living in cities in 2020, 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 2020, the share of French residents living in rural areas kept decreasing, going from roughly 22.6 percent in 2006 to slightly more than 19 percent in 2020. 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 reached more than 80 percent of the total in 2020.
The advantages of the countryside
A survey conducted by Ifop in 2018 showed that 41 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 2018, the percentage of unemployed people reached 5.9 percent in rural areas, compared to ten percent in cities. Similarly, the percentage of labor force participants is higher in rural areas.
Share of the rural population in France from 1960 to 2020
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World Bank. (July 30, 2021). Share of the rural population in France from 1960 to 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved July 05, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/466457/france-share-of-rural-population/
World Bank. "Share of the rural population in France from 1960 to 2020." Chart. July 30, 2021. Statista. Accessed July 05, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/466457/france-share-of-rural-population/
World Bank. (2021). Share of the rural population in France from 1960 to 2020. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: July 05, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/466457/france-share-of-rural-population/
World Bank. "Share of The Rural Population in France from 1960 to 2020." Statista, Statista Inc., 30 Jul 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/466457/france-share-of-rural-population/
World Bank, Share of the rural population in France from 1960 to 2020 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/466457/france-share-of-rural-population/ (last visited July 05, 2022)