Did you know?

indicator value unit
Population 65.0 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 above the average in income and wealth, housing, health status, civic engagement, social connections, work-life balance and personal security. It ranks below average in subjective well-being, environmental quality, education and skills, and jobs and earnings. These rankings are based on available selected data.

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 31 304 a year, lower than the OECD average of USD 33 604 a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn around four times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, about 65% of people aged 15 to 64 in France have a paid job, below the OECD employment average of 68%. Some 69% of men are in paid work, compared with 62% of women. Almost 8% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 11%, with 10% of men working very long hours compared with 5% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In France, 78% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, in line with the OECD average of 78%.This is slightly truer of men than women, as 79% of men have successfully completed high school compared with 78% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 496 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 486. On average in France, girls outperformed boys by 7 points, higher than the average OECD gap of 2 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in France is a little over 82 years, two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 86 years, compared with 79 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 13.4 micrograms per cubic meter, almost in line with the OECD average of 13.9 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, broadly in line with 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 90% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, broadly in line with the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 75% 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 78% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 70% 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 on average, in line with the OECD average.


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


OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: France

OECD’s periodic surveys of the French economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

Read this report

Find Out More

France in Detail