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indicator value unit
Population 63.2 mil.
Visitors per year 77.1 mil.
Renewable energy 8.07 %

How’s Life?

France performs well in many measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. France ranks at above the average in environmental quality, housing, work-life balance, and health status.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In France, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 28 799 a year, more than the OECD average of USD 25 908 a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn close to five times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, 64% of people aged 15 to 64 in France have a paid job, slightly below the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 68% of men are in paid work, compared with 60% of women.  Around 8% of employees work very long hours, lower than the OECD average of 13%, with 11% of men working very long hours compared with 5% for women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In France, 73% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, close to the OECD average of 75%.This is truer of men than women, as 73% of men have successfully completed high school compared with 72% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 500 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is slightly higher than the OECD average of 497. On average in France, girls outperformed boys by 13 points, higher than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in France is 82 years, higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 85 years, compared with 79 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 11.9 micrograms per cubic meter in large urban areas, considerably lower than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. France also performs well in terms of water quality, as 82% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, just above the OECD average of 81%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in France, where 87% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, slightly lower than the OECD average of 88%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 80% during recent elections, higher than the OECD average of 68%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 89% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 79%, slightly less than the OECD average gap of 13 percentage points.

In general, French people are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, French people gave it a 6.5 grade, slightly lower than the OECD average of 6.6.

For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.

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