France will see strong demographic growth to the period 2050, with over 9 million new residents, most heading south and west, and one in three likely to be over 60 years of age.
Older and more numerous: that will be the face of the population of France, which was set out in the latest projections for INSEE, the French national statistical agency.
This growth is based on a continuing strong birth rate and net immigration of 100,000 per year.
In recent years, INSEE has continued to move upwards its population projections.
As recently as 2001 they projected that the population on 2050 would be 64 million, nearly 6 million lower than their latest forecast.
As well as revising upwards their projections on total population, they have also revised upwards the percentage of those aged 60 year plus, from one fifth of the population to one third, totalling 22 million people.
At the top of the age pyramid, the number of those aged 75+ has been increased from 4.9 million to 10.9 million, whilst the number 85+ from 1.1. to 4.2 million.
This will mean that the population will comprise seven inhabitants aged 60+ for ten inhabitants between 20-59 years. This ratio has doubled in the last 50 years.
However, as INSEE anticipate that many people will go on working longer in their life, and that the number of women in employment will also increase, it will not mean a reduction in the number of those in employment.
Nevertheless, given the growth in the elderly population, by 2050 there will be a reduction in the proportion of those who are active compared with inactive.
With the increase in the 60+, by 2045 the number of deaths will outstrip the number of births, increasing from around 500,000 a year in 2005, to around 750,000 in 2045. This reduction in the natural growth of the population will be compensated by net migration.
In terms of where everyone will live, then the tendency for people to head south and west will continue.
The population of Languedoc-Roussillon is forecast to grow by over one third, whilst Midi-Pyrénées will grow by around one quarter.
Strong double digit growth is also expected in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Pays de la Loire and Aquitaine.
By contrast, the regions of Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine, Auvergne, and Burgundy will see a decline in their population, despite net inward migration in case of the Auvergne and Burgundy.