The population of France is forecast to match that of Germany – currently the largest in Western Europe – by 2055, reports Carine Fourteau of Mediapart.
In a study published on 29 March, the French National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) examined the reasons behind this latest development in what has been a long history of reversing demographic trends between the two countries.
It finds that while immigration has played a minor role in the increase of the population in France, it represents a vital element for countering the continued ageing and decrease of the population in Germany.
France’s demographic surge is due above all to a comparatively high rate of births, and which is significantly more than the number of deaths. In 2010, when the French population rose by 0.53% to reach 63.4 million, there were 802,000 babies born in France, while there were 540,000 deaths.
During the same year, the net migration figure was 75,000 (i.e. there were 75,000 more people arrived in the country than the number of those who left) representing a fifth of the overall rise in the population.
In Germany, however, the situation is the exact opposite. In 2010, the German population totaled 81.4 million, representing a year-on-year fall of 0.06%. That drop would have reached 0.22% without the net influx of 130,000 immigrants during 2010.
According to the United Nations’ medium variant projections, the French population will total the same as Germany’s by 2055. This is based on the assumption of a continuing rise in fertility rates in France and Germany (reaching in 2055 an average 1.92 children per woman in Germany and 2.06 children per woman in France), that life expectancy will continue to rise (to reach 85.5 years in Germany, and 86.5 years in France) and that immigration will represent a net influx of 1 in 1,000 people.
Read the report - French population to match Germany's by 2055