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....

See also :

(credit)
 Miscellaneous facts and figures    The French economy
  • French possessions result from what is left of a vast colonial empire, built in two waves (18th Century : North America, India and XIXth Africa, Oceania, Asia). They are either DOM (Département d'Outre-Mer), i.e. considered exactly like any other part of France, with the same political institutions (but specific additional social benefits to compensate their lower income) or TOM (Territoire d'Outre-Mer) i.e. the same political representation in Parliament but a specific governement (which cannot be considered independent from France) :
    • DOM include : in the Caribbeans : Guadeloupe (1,780 sq.km, 400,000 hab., including Saint Barthélémy and St.Martin), Martinique (1,100 sq.km, 340,000 hab.), Guyane (91,000 sq.km, 60,000 hab.), in the Indian Ocean : La Réunion (2,512 sq.km, 600,000 hab.), near Newfoundland : Saint-Pierre & Miquelon (242 sq.km, 6,000 hab.)
    • TOM include : in the Pacific Ocean Polynésie (4,000 sq.km, 100,000 hab.), Nouvelle-Calédonie and dependencies (19,200 sq.km, 100,000 hab.), Wallis & Futuna Islands (220 sq.km, 10,000 hab.), in the Indian Ocean : Mayotte (400 sq.km, 50,000 hab.)
    • In addition to TOM, non-inhabited territories include : Terre Adélie (900,000 sq.km), Kerguelen Archipelago (7,000 sq.km), Crozet Archipelago and many other islands all around the world (Bassas da India, Europa, etc... off Madagascar, Clipperton Atoll, off Acapulco, ...)

DID YOU KOW THAT.....? Until the 1960s, all French kids knew the names of the five "Comptoirs des Indes" (trading-posts), which were returned to India in the 1950s after more than two centuries, the last remnants of the Louis XV empire : Pondichéry, Yanaon, Chandernagor, Karikal and Mahe.

 
  • Productivity (source : OECD 2003) :
     

    Productivity

    per hour

    Number of hours of

    work/year

     % of part-time

    jobs

     % of people

    at work between age 15 and 64

     France

     103

     1 545

     13,7

     61,1
     USA

     100

     1 815

     13,4

     71,9
     Japan

     74

     1 809

     25,1

     68,2
     Germany

     75

     1 444

     18,8

     65,3
     Spain

     62

     1 807

     7,6

     59,5
     U.K.

     74

     1 707

     23,0

     72,1

Conclusion : the French work much less but when they work, they are as much or more efficient! (it is fair to say that the recent trend is not favourable)

  • But the 10 newly admitted members in the European Union work longer, with a much lower labor cost (2003) :

   Average hours per week

 % unemployed

<25 years old

 Labor cost per hour in Euro
 France

 38

 21,3

 25,1
 Former EU (15)  

 16

 19,9
 New EU (25)

 38

 18,2

 17,6
 Poland

 41,3

 39,6

 5,3
 Spain

 39,7

 22,3

 13,1
 Italy

 39

 27,1

 19,3
 UK

 37,4

 11,8

 24,5
 Germany

 35,9

 11,1

 26,3

Conclusion : France and Germany have to face the competition of countries where people work harder and cost less and adjust to it.

  • Most popular radio stations in France are (Source : Médiamétrie 2005),with their FM wavelength :

 NRJ  13,5 %  music  100,3  private
 RTL  12,1%  general  104,3  private
 France Inter  10 %  general  87,8 state-owned 
 France Info  9,6 %  news only  105,5  state-owned
 Europe 1  9,2 %  general  104,7  private
 Skyrock  8,1 %  music  96  private
 Nostalgie  8 %  songs  90,4  private
 France Bleue  6,8 %  music  107,1  state-owned
 Fun Radio  6,6 %  music  101,9  private
 Chérie FM  6 %  songs  91,3  private
 Europe 2  5,8 %  music  103,5  private
  .......        
 France Musiques  1,8 %  classical music  91,7  state owned
 France Culture  1,2 %  theater, etc...  93,5  state-owned
 Radio Classique  1,1 %  classical music  101,1  private

Most stations have a national coverage (local stations do exist but there audience is relatively limited, compared to the uSA).

  • Most popular TV channels in France are (source : Mediametrie 2005)

Name

 market-share
   known for...  
 TF1

 31,8%
going down  reality shows  private
 France 2

 20,5%
   magazines  state-owned
 France 3

 15,2%
   regional news  state-owned
 Canal +

 3,8%
 pay channel  sports and movies  private
 M6

 12,5%
   reality shows  private
 France 5

 6,7%
very good  best of French programs  state-owned
 Arte

 3,7%
very good  cultural programs  state-owned (Franco-German)
 local, regional, foreign and thematics

 11,2%
 pay channels    mostly private

State-owned TV is funded :

    • mostly by a tax, "redevance tele", paid by TV owners and collected with income tax (approxiately $ 80/year)
    • advertizing (but less than on private channels)
 
  •  

    Nuclear power plants : total electricity produced in 2003 (in GWh) and % of electricity from nuclear power plants (source : OECD)

    (parenthesis : number of reactors in 2005)

     
       GWh  %
     USA (104)  763 744  20,0%
    France (59)  420 700  77,6%
     Japan (57)  230 078  25,8%
     Germany (17)  157 443  30,2%
     Russia (35)  138 388  
     S.Korea (20)  123 281  39,9%
     UK (23)  85 306  
     Ukraine (15)  76 700  
     Canada (18)  70 293  
     India (23)  n/a  
     Sweden (10)  65 500  49,2%
  • Activity rate with age (OECD 2004)
     %  age 15/24  age 25/54  age 55/64
     France

     30,2

     86,4

     41,7
     USA

     61,6

     83

     62,4
     Germany

     47,4

     86

     43,1
     UK

     67,6

     84,1

     57,5
     Japan

     44,8

     82,1

     65,8
  • World's largest exporters/importers (WTO 2005)

 $ billion

 Exports

 Imports

 Germany

 971

 774

 U.S.A.

 904

 1733

 China

 762

 660

 Japan

 596

 516

 France

 459

 496

 Netherlands

 401

 358

 U.K.

 378

 501

 Italy

 367

 380

 Canada

 360

 320

 Belgium

 330

 320

More about French exports (not only cheese!).

 The image of France    

 About the economic ranking of France .... "From an economic point of view, would you say that France is":

(Figaro-Magazine , a poll in America in 2004)

 2000

 2002

 2004
 Among the 5 major economic powers (= correct answer at the time of the poll)

 14

 14

 19%
 Between 5 and 10

 49

 47

 47%
 Beyond the 10th

 17

 23

 25%
 I don't know

 20

 16

 9%

 

 About world leaders in business... "Do you think that France is a world leader in the following domains...", Americans answer :

 Wine  82%  
 Fashion  77%  
 Culture (books, movies, music)  60%  
 Medical research  30%  
 Nuclear industry  17% France has the highest % of electricity produced by nuclear power plants : 77% (USA : 20%) (see EDF and AREVA)
 Telecom and computers  17%  ALCATEL is #1 for ADSL
 Aerospace  17% In its field, Airbus is #1 and Arianespace too
 Military industry  16%  France is #2 (after the USA) for military exports

More about French exports and about French leading companies.

To related pages : figures on Europe, more facts & figures, etc...

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

  • "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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