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)
 French opinions...    French society
  • The French do not like market economy ! According to a poll for the University of Maryland (GlobalScan, Aug.2005, in: Le Figaro March 25,2006), the answer to the question "The system of free entreprise and market economy is it the best for the future?" are :

     %

     YES

     NO
     China

     74

     20
     Philippines

     73

     22
     U.S.A.

     71

     24
     South Korea

     70

     19
     India

     70

     17
     Indonesia

     68

     29
     Great-Britain

     67

     27
     Nigeria

     66

     29
     Canada

     65

     29
     Germany

     65

     32
     Spain

     63

     28
     Poland

     63

     19
     Mexico

     61

     38
     Italy

     59

     31
     Kenya

     59

     25
     Brazil

     55

     30
     Turkey

     47

     36
     Russia

     43

     34
     Argentina

     42

     29
     France

     36

     50
  • See another comparative poll on related items with substantial differences between French and American answers
 
  • France has among the lowest % of women in national parliaments (source : Le Monde March 8, 2005) :

Sweden 45%

Finland 38%

Denmark 37%

Netherlands 37%

Spain 36%

Belgium 35%

 Austria 34%

Germany 33%

Luxembourg 23%

Lithuania 22%

Latvia 21%

Poland 20%

 Portugal 20%

Estonia 19%

UK 18%

Czech Rep. 17%

Slovakia 17%

Cyprus 16%

 Greece 14%

Ireland 13%

France 12% (up to 18% after the 2007 elections)

Slovenia 12%

Italy 12%

Malta 9%

Hungary 9%

  • NONOs about pickpockets. Paris is the playground for the best pickpockets in the world (Romanian, Colombians,...). They zoom in on Americans who offer them the most tempting situations by :
    • Carrying a wallet in the back-pocket of their pants (men)
    • Leaving their handbags open in the metro, or on the floor in a restaurant (women)
    • Believing that a rucksack is a safe place for values (it can be emptied without your noticing it)
    • Engaging in a conversation with charming kids : you do not understand what they say and you are very careful to what they say because you are a nice person and you want to help them ; during this conversation, their older sister (or brother) steals everything you have on you
    • etc....

Back to DOs&DONTs.

  • Identity test for French Muslims, compared with other European countries (source : Pew Research Center, in I.H.T.July 7, 2006)
       France  UK  Germany  Spain  USA
    Muslims feeling more National

     42%

     7%

     13%

     3%
     
    Muslims feeling more Muslim

     46%

     81%

     66%

     69%
     
    Christians feeling more National

     83%

     59%

     59%

     60%

     48%
    Christians feeling more Christian

     14%

     24%

     33%

     14%

     42%
     "very worried" about unemployment

     52%

     46%

     56%

     55%
     
     "very worried" about Islamic extremism

     30%

     44%

     23%

     22%
     
     See decline in importance of religion

     21%

     45%

     18%

     18%
     

More about communautarism.

  • Asked about the most frightening/reassuring word, the French answer (Médiamétrie Poll, Parisien, 15/12/2008) :
    • most frightening : Bush, lay-offs, unemployment, financial krach, crazy finance, financial tsunamy, subprimes, traders, crisis, golden parachutes, toxic financial products, contamination
    • most reassuring : Obama, Europe, euro, Livret A (the popular saving accounts), moralizing economy, transparency, protection, State, reform, salvage plan, central european bank
    • closest to people : Livret A, savings, Nicolas Sarkozy, guarantee of state, real economy, austerity, nationalisations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Respondents of 6 countries were asked what they thought about the number of legal immigrants residing in their country (Source : I.H.T./France24, IHT May 25, 2007)
       Too many  About right  Too few and not sure
     UK

     67%

     20%

     13%
     Italy

     55%

     26%

     19%
     Germany

     55%

     32%

     13%
     Spain

     45%

     28%

     27%
     USA

     35%

     43%

     22%
     France

     32%

     52%

     16%
  • Opinion on immigration : Europe and the US (Source Transatlantic Trends, German Marschall Fund 2008 in Le Monde Nov.18, 2008)
     Question  USA  Europe  Extreme answers
    Immigration does NOT increase crime

     48%

     44%
    France 70% Italy 30%
    Immigrants take our jobs

     51%

     34%
    UK 52% France 24%
    Immigration is more a problem than an opportunity

     62%

     47%
    for France and Netherlands, it's more an opportunity
    Controls at borders must be strengthen

     83%

     80%
     
    Employers of illegal immigrants must be punished

     74%

     84%
     
    Illegal immigrants should be sent back to their country

     69%

     70%
     
    When legal, they should have the same civil rights

     59%

     58%
     
     ...same social benefits

    58% 

     73%
     
    More on immigration.
  • Facts about abortion in France
    • Legal since 1975 (Loi Veil) and called IVG ("Interruption Volontaire de Grossesse" for volontary interruption of pregnancy) ; it is never a subject of political controversy
    • Not possible after 12 weeks pregnancy
    • the number is stable : 206,000 IVG par year (2005)
    • Reimbursed by Social Security since Dec.31, 1982
    • Since 2000, emergency contraceptives (" the next-day pill ") can be sold over the counter and are free for minors
    • In Europe, abortion is legal in 24 countries, forbidden in two (Ireland and Malta) and on the way to become legal in one (Portugal)
    • No European regulation : the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that all moral questions involved are the responsibility of each member state

Back to French society

 Vision of the future : a comparative poll
 (ranking)  "my future is promising"  "the future of our society is promising"  "I am sure I'll have a good job in the future"
 France

 25,6% (8/10)

 4,2% (10/10)

 27,0% (8/10)
 USA

 54,1 (2/10)

 17,9 ((2/10)

 59,6 (2/10)
 Germany

 36,5

 9,7

 34,3
 UK

 35,9

 6,9

 38,6
 Denmark

 59,6

 25,9

 60,0
 Sweden

 49,2

 17,7

 43,2
 Spain

 31,6

 6,8

 35,8
 Russia

 28,1

 11,2

 42,0
 Poland

 23,6

 4,7

 25,3
 Italy

 22,6

 6,7

 26,0
 (source : 22,000 young people 15-29 by Kairos/Fondapol, Le Figaro Jan.4, 2008)

Other questions :

  • "to make a good career, one must stick to other people's expectations" : France 54%, USA 34%
  • "to have a good life, one needs a lot of money" : France 30%, USA 29%

Back to national mood and French education

   

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

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "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
  • "French Toast - Heureuse comme une Américaine en France", Ramsay, Paris 2005

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