Facts and figures about Europe (#4)  
 France in Europe : some comparative figures...    

 In Europe, France has the highest (or lowest) rate for :

  • Long life expectancy (and the best medical system according to W.H.O. : click here)
     Life expectancy  France  USA  Japan  Germ.  UK
     Male

     77

     75

     79

     76

     76
     Female

     84

     81

     86

     82

     81
     Infant mortality

     5

     7,3
         
  • Proportion of obese people in the population (source : OECD 2006)
     USA  39,1%
     UK  22,9%
     Germany  20,6%
     Spain  15,7%
     Italy  12,7%
     France  7,4%
     Japan  1,6%
  • Lowest rate of heart disease : 61 for 100 000 inhabitants (USA=176, UK = 200, etc...)
  • Highest consumption of alcohol : 14,1 liters of pure alcohol / year / adult (Spain=12, Sweden=6,5 etc...)
  • Longest paid vacation : 5 weeks minimum (28% have more) in addition to holidays
  • Among the lowest % of women in national parliaments : 12% (vs. Sweden 45%) ; see comparative figures
  • (Relatively) high level of corruption : according to Transparency International (2002), France ranks only 12th in Europe and 25th in the world (Finland is #1 and USA are #16)
  • Tourism : highest number of foreign visitors in the world : 75 million (USA : 52,7, Spain : 48,5)
  • Very high taxes : top marginal tax rate is 54% (USA : 39,6%, other European countries : 24 to 60%), corporate tax is 36,6% (USA : 35%, Europe 28 to 40%) and the % Tax/GNP is 45,3% (USA : 27%, Europe 34 to 46%) (source:OECD 1999) ; click here for comparative figures or for more facts on taxes in France
  • The French economy ranks #4 or #5 in the world (now #5 or #6 if China becomes #4) : for example, in terms of share of world exports (OECD, 1998), France (with 5,8%) is the fourth economic power after the U.S.(12,2%), Germany (9,7%), and Japan (7,3%). UK (4,8%) is close, followed by Italy (4,3%). In terms of Gross National Product, France ranked #5 in 2002 : USA : 11,047 Euros, Japan : 4,242 Euros, Germany : 2,108 Euros, UK : 1,659 Euros, France : 1,521 Euros, Italy : 1,258 Euros (Source : Eurostat). Regarding the number of patents, France ranks #2 in Europe, after Germany (see detailed figures).
  • Regarding the Index of Human Development (2005) : France ranks #10, Sweden being the best European ranking (#6), followed by Japan (#8), USA (#12), UK (#16), Germany (#22), etc...
  • More numbers in the page Facts & Figures
 

 Other significant figures include ...

  • Highest number of cops : 1 for 265 inhabitants (1 for 119 in Paris), compared to 1 for 380 in UK, 1 for 296 in Germany ; more about police in France
  • Highest number of hunters (in April 2002, a candidate of the "Association of Hunters" called "Chasse, Pêche, Nature et Tradition" won more than 4% of the votes in the French Presidential election)
  • Highest consumption of tranquilizers (see numbers), and of cosmetics
  • Highest rate of pets (52% of families own a dog or a cat) : there are approximately 200,000 dogs in Paris (producing 16 tons of dog poop per day and sending 650 persons per year to an hospital after they have slipped on it...)
  • Strongest national cinema industry in Europe : see figures and read more about the French policy for the film industry...
  • Lowest union membership : France=9,8%, Northern Europe=50%, USA=15,6%
  • Highest rate of people killed in car accidents : France 146 per million (Europe Average =18, USA=22). In his extremely funny book, English writer Michael Sadler observes "The French share with the hedgehog the reputation of being both extremely prickly to meet and of dying in large numbers on the roads." But it is improving : in 1972, the number of people killed was around 16,000/year and in 2003, it was slightly below 6,000, with three times more traffic and in 2012, it is near 3,000.
  • Undeclared work ("travail au noir") (European Commission 2004)
     < 5%  5 to 10% 10 to 15% 15 to 20%  unknown
    UK, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Austria, Portugal France, Germany, Czech rep, Denmark, Estonia  Poland Italy, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia Ireland, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Luxembg
  • Unemployment :
    • High unemployment rate : France=over 9%, Europe=between 6 and 24%, USA=8%)
    • High minimum public allowance in case of unemployment : 500 to 600 Euros/month for in average 16 months (average figures for Europe are 700 Euros for 12 months) ; see detailed comparative figures (source : UNEDIC)
  • Low average age at which people stop working (Men) : France=59.2 (USA=63.6, Japan=66.5, Germany=60.5) (OECD, 1995)
  • Crime and violence : in 1995, deaths by gunshot at age 19 or less : France 109 (UK=19, Germany=57, USA=5,280) (source: Le Monde 23/4/99) ; in Europe, the number of prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants ranges from Finland 52 to Portugal 131, with France 75 and U.S.A. 702 (source : IHT Jan.3, 2003)
 Views on Europe    
  • There are many myths about Europ and European institutions. The British opinion is largely reluctant and The Independent published recently an interesting articles on myths & realities.
  • Click for a tentative list of strengths and weaknesses of France.
  • From a poll (Eurobaromètre, April 2000) of 16,000 European citizens :
    • Question 1 : Do you feel exclusively European? European and national ? National and European ? Exclusively national ? Luxemburg and the Netherlands answer "European first" with more than 30%. The answer "exclusively national" is 39% in France (67% in UK).
    • Question 2 : Favorable opinion toward the European Union ? The least favorable are Sweden (30% unfavorable), UK (26%), Denmark (21%) and Finland (20%).
    • See detailed numbers.
   
 To related pages : more facts on Europe (#1), building (#2) and institutions (#3) of Europe

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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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