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)
 Wealth in France...    Diplomacy and foreign policy
The 5 richest French people  are (Source : Forbes 2007, with their world ranking)
  • # 7 : Bernard Arnault (LVMH : Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) $ 26 bn
  • #12 : Liliane Bettencourt (L'Oreal) $ 20,6 bn
  • #34 : François Pinault (Pinault Printemps Redoute) $ 14,5 bn
  • #62 ex-aequo : Gerard Wertheimer (Chanel) and Serge Dassault (avions Dassault) $ 10 bn each

Inequality (income) as measured by RP10% (10% richest/10% poorest) (UNO 2011) and Gini coefficient (World Bank) for a sample of countries

RP10% (2011) (*)
Gini(**)
(year)
Belgium
8,2
33
(2000)
Canada
9,4
33
(2000)
Denmark
9,1
25
(1997)

France

9,1
30,6
(2011)
USA
15,9
41
(2000)
UK
13,8
34
(2010)
Germany
6,9
28
(2000)
Italy
11,6
36
(2000)
Japan
25
(2010)
Sweden
6,2
25
(2000)
European Union
30,4
ยง3009)

(*) : In France, the 10% richest are 9,1 times richer than the 10 poorest.

(**) Gini = 0 when all incomes are equal ; in France, the Gini coefficient went DOWN from 45 to 30 (1955-2007) and is slowly growing since 2007 (i.e. more inequalities)

  Number of embassies and consulates :
 (source : IFRAP 2004)  Embassies  International Organizations  Consulates  Total
 France  152  17  99  268
 USA  166  11  72  249
 UK  145  10  70  225
 Germany  141  12  58  211
 Italy  125  12  115  252

Roms, Gypsies, Tziganes, Gitans, Manouches, Bohemiens, etc... Like many countries in Europe, France has had on her soil for several centuries a significant population of people of "Gypsy" origin. They have different names, some of them (about half in France) are nomads and others are "sedentarized". They came from India ten centuries ago and Romania has a large population of them, traditionally very ill-treated. They have a strong culture, with different forms and some beautiful achievements (in Spain, Flamenco, in France, jazz manouche -see more details-). In France, they are, of course, French citizens. They are very attached to their tradition and in general, their popular image is very bad ("chicken thieves" in the country, mobsters in towns). During WW2 they were persecuted by the Nazis, exactly like the Jews.

Since the admission of Romania to the EU, the "Roms" (their name in Romania) can travel freely in Europe and, in France, their population has doubled (numbers are uncertain) and their condition has worsened. Roms are not nomads : they just try to escape their miserable Romanian villages to settle in Western Europe slums.

Estimated numbers of their population are (Source EU Commission, reported in Les Echos Aug.20, 2010):
Romania : 1,85 million
Bulgaria : 750 000
Spain : 725 000
Hungary : 700 000
France : 400 000 (twice what it was before)
Greece : 265 000
UK : 250 000
Italy : 140 000
Germany : 105 000, etc…..
The EU rules are :
- anybody can be admitted to another EU country for 3 months maximum : beyond that limit they must have a job and/or an income
- after 5 years, they can't be expelled
The obligations of French authorities are :
- each city over 5,000 must provide a "decent" ground to the nomads for their mobile homes
- all French schools must accept nomad children as they move with their family
- when they expel Roms to Romania, they offer them a few hundred Euros, to make them accept a "voluntary" transfer.

The Romanian government is largely responsible of the problem for the Roms and for other European countries. In the European budget 2007-2013, Romania received 3.7 b. Euros ($5.2 b) to improve the life of the Romanian Roms (education, jobs, housing) so they would not be forced to emigrate. By lack of projects, only 20% were spent ...

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Naturalization in France

Countries of origin of people who acquired French citizenship in 2008 (Source : le Figaro 19/11/2009) :

  • Morocco : 13,674
  • Algeria : 12,439
  • Tunisia : 4,436
  • Turkey : 3,333
  • Portugal : 2,269
  • Russia : 2,188
  • Serbia : 1,937
  • Congo : 1,633
  • Senegal : 1,278
  • Haiti : 1,121
  • Ivory Coast : 1,094
  • Cameroon : 1,052
  • Sri Lanka : 904
  • Rep.Congo : 895
  • Lebanon : 789

Average age : 38,9 years

Occupation : active = 59,8%, non active = 14,6%, students = 9,8%, unemployed = 7,6%

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French economic leaders

Among a list on 100 French world leaders (from the French magazine Capital N°130 July 2002) : all the below-mentioned companies are # 1 in their field

 Name/Company  Sector  Size (an idea of...)  Rank or % world market share (when available)
 ALCATEL  ADSL (fast internet)    # 1 & 40%
 AREVA  nuclear (non military)  50,000 employees  # 1
 AIR LIQUIDE  industrial gas    # 1
 AVENTIS PASTEUR  vaccination    25%
 SODEXHO  catering  # 1
 AXA  insurance    # 1
 BUSINESS OBJECT  decision software    
 DASSAULT AVIATION  corporate aircrafts  79 Falcon jets/year  # 1
 EUROCOPTER (EADS)  helicopters    # 1 & 40%
 Hopital HENRI-MONDOR  artificial hearts  >1,000 in operation  
 SNECMA  engines for jets  (in partnership with GE)  
 SPOT IMAGE  satellite cartography    55%
 THALES ANGENIEUX  optics for cinema and TV    
 DANONE  yoghurts  2,8M tons/year  # 1 & 17%
 MEILLAND  flowers (roses)  30 million/year  
 Chantiers de l'Atlantique  luxury cruise ships    
 COLAS  road building 40 mios tons asphalt/year  
 ESSILOR  glasses (for spectacles)  200 million  # 1 & 25%
 PEUGEOT (PSA)  diesel engine for cars    
 RHODIA  aspirin    
ROSSIGNOL   skis    39%
 VINCI  construction  130,000 employees  # 1
 BOUYGUES  construction    # 2
 ZODIAC  inflatable boats    # 1
 JC DECAUX  urban equipments and road signs    # 1
 BIC  ballpoint pens  21 million/day  # 1
 LAFARGE  ciment    # 2
 L'OREAL  cosmetics  turnover 14 bns Euros  # 1
 AIR FRANCE - KLM  airlines    # 1
 MICHELIN  tires    # 1
 SAINT-GOBAIN  glass    # 1
 CARREFOUR  very large supermakets  730 worldwide  # 2
 VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT  water supply and distribution  110 million clients  # 1
 SUEZ  water supply and distribution    # 2
 LVMH  luxury products  Dior, Vuiton, Moet, etc...  # 1
ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE production / distribution    # 1

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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

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