The fact that the unemployment rate in France continues to be almost 10% is a constant source of worry for the French, now even for the best qualified among them. Nevertheless, as the baby-boomers reach retirement age, major changes are forecast for the working population and for the French labour market.
In this article Alain Parant analyses changes in the French population in the past, present and future and their possible consequences for employment. Nothing can stop the ageing of the population in the next few years, he says, but it is difficult to predict what effect this will have for the population as a whole, since demographic change also depends on factors such as fertility and immigration. One thing is certain: France paradoxically has one of the highest rates of underemployment of older workers in Europe.
In the near future the rapid ageing of the French population could be accompanied by continuing high levels of unemployment and underemployment. It remains to be seen whether these phenomena will occur simultaneously or with a lag, Alain Parant explains, and that will depend in part on how the French government and French businesses react.
L’Inde, comme la Chine, fascine. Les performances économiques des deux pays, notamment, n’en finissent pas de susciter l’intérêt de nombre de penseurs, hommes politiques et observateurs étrangers ; certains parmi ceux-ci cherchant en retour à identifier les raisons de ces succès, ainsi que leurs conséquences vraisemblables à plus ou moins long terme. Ce travail d’observation et de réflexion prospective, déjà fondamental en soi, apparaît également comme un excellent moyen d’observation et de mise en lumière de ...
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India, like China, has increasingly fascinated Western economists and analysts. The country that calls itself "the world's largest democracy" looks to be one of the most promising economic powers of the 21st century.
Jean-Joseph Boillot, an expert on India, examines here the rather too common tendency to idealize its economic prospects. He makes use of scenarios to show the possible trends for this vast nation in the coming years and he emphasizes the many uncertainties facing the country, disagreeing with the idea that India will be a superpower by 2050. For both demographic and economic reasons, there is no guarantee that India will soon achieve a comparable growth to its Chinese neighbour. With the aid of forecasts and scenarios, Jean-Joseph Boillot highlights the many factors that could affect Indian growth prospects. In particular, he cites the results of a study produced by the Davos forum which concluded that India's economic development remains unclear and will depend above all on the political strategies it adopts.
Since 1994, the Russian population has fallen by almost 6 million. This steady and substantial decline reflects some malfunctioning in Russia. If this trend continues or worsens, the country is likely to encounter serious economic and social problems, accentuated by the difficulties of administering its vast land area. Anatoli Vichnevski examines the demographic prospects for Russia and highlights the catastrophic trend in death rates, and with a birthrate apparently set to remain low, there is little reason to expect a major upturn through natural increase.
Vichnevski first presents the projections of the size and composition of the population made by the Russian Academy of Science's Centre of Demography and Human Ecology, which he heads, and then discusses the prerequisites if the Russian population is to be stabilized at its present level from now until 2100. He argues that if Russia wants to maintain its population constant throughout the 21st century, there will have to be strong reliance on immigration. For this reason, he says, "seeking ways of coping with the challenge of migration in the 21st century will be one of the most important goals of Russia's domestic and perhaps also its foreign policy".
The question of whether Turkey should eventually be allowed to join the European Union was much in the news in 2005, and worked its way into the debate about the European Constitution even though it was not relevant. Independently of the political debate about the legitimacy of Turkey's admission to the EU, Frédéric Allemand has looked at the possible repercussions of Turkey joining for the way the Union's institutions operate, in view of the country's sheer demographic size and growth.
Relying on a variety of population forecasts (United Nations, Eurostat, etc.) to 2025 for the current EU member states, those already in the queue (Bulgaria, Romania, the Balkan states, etc.) and Turkey, Frédéric Allemand has calculated the voting weight that Turkey would have, based on population, in the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and various other bodies, in the context of a greatly enlarged European Union and on the assumption that current arrangements for decision-making remain unchanged. He points out that, as the most populous country, Turkey would effectively have the same influence on decision-making as a "big" nation, like the four current "big" members (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom), who would see their relative weight reduced. But for one thing, this reduction in the relative importance of the current "big" four would just be part of a general trend that has been developing over the last three decades. For another, Turkey's large size need not translate into actual influence on the decision-making process, as experience shows that there is a certain distrust of the big countries which can often lead to their being marginalized.
As we have already argued (Futuribles, n° 299, July-August 2004), whereas the standard of living of Europeans gradually caught up with that of the Americans in the three prosperous decades after the Second World War, the gap between them has widened again since then. What is the reason for the relative decline of Europe vis-à-vis the United States and for the varied showing from country to country within Europe? The experts disagree as to the underlying causes of these differences.
Because we are concerned with knowledge-based economies, the factors most often mentioned are the lower spending on R&D, the lags in innovation and rigidities in the labour markets of European countries, especially France. "Wrong!" say Philippe Durance, Michel Godet and Michel Martinez. Instead the explanations lie in the differences in demographic increase and the disparities in hours worked and, above all, in employment levels.
The authors' arguments come down to three factors. First, four-fifths of the difference between growth rates in the United States and Europe can be explained by the difference in rates of population increase, followed by the shorter hours worked by those in employment (an American works 25% longer hours than a French worker), and lastly the lower proportion of those in work in Europe, with significant differences among countries, for instance between Britain and France.
And here the authors proffer an argument that cannot fail to capture the attention of our readers: "Let's stop boasting about the apparent high productivity rate in France, which is largely a reflection in the statistics of the fact that the least productive workers are consigned to the scrapheap". In other words, "the hourly productivity rate is then an indicator of exclusion", and it would be better if everyone worked, so that overall activity rates rose, rather than practising discrimination in the name of maintaining productivity.
Qu'il s'agisse d'explorer l'évolution du nombre de consommateurs par catégorie d'âge, la population d'âge actif ou l'évolution des valeurs, le nombre de ménages et leur composition, les besoins en logement ou les perspectives du tourisme, a fortiori l'évolution de la croissance économique, les besoins en termes de santé ou les impacts du vieillissement, voire notre consommation énergétique ou les émissions de gaz à effet de serre... dans presque tous ces travaux, il ...
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Following on from the dossier in this issue evaluating what has been achieved under the Lisbon agenda, Michel Godet and Évelyne Sullerot, who have a written a forthcoming report on the family, stress the urgent need that exists in Europe to invest in its human capital. They point out that Europe is at last realizing that its population is ageing, especially compared with the United States, and that this has consequences in the medium and long term for its economic growth (the economically active population of the 25 member states of the EU might decline by more than 20 million between 2010 and 2030). Unless the birthrate shoots up and immigration rises substantially, there is no way out.
Yet many surveys show that the fall in fertility rates in Europe is not inevitable - women still want to have children - but it is the result of public policies that do too little to help matters. France is admittedly an exception as regards fertility rates, but this does not mean that the country is unaffected by these problems. It is against this background that the French prime minister asked the Conseil d'Analyses Économiques to examine the economic issues arising from the policy on families and its relationship with other social policies.
A working group was set up officially on 1 July 2004 by Christian de Boissieu, the head of the CAE, with Évelyne Sullerot and Michel Godet as co-ordinators. This article provides some extracts from the report, which encourages the public authorities to help combat poverty in families with children and achieve a better balance between the demands of work and family.
Qu’est devenu le Japon qui, après les années 1980 où il fut érigé en modèle, a sombré depuis 15 ans dans une crise financière, économique, politique, culturelle dont nul, jusqu’à présent, n’avait dressé un bilan vraiment exhaustif ? Sans renier son modèle particulier de développement, le Japon a accompli une véritable mutation aux plans industriel et économique, social et culturel, telle que, ayant surmonté les chocs pétroliers, remédié aux errements de son administration publique, procédé à un véritable ...
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New statistics on the French population have just been published following the latest census. They estimate the population at 1 January 2004 to be 62 million, a clear rise compared with previous years. This is due, in large part, to natural increase, i.e. a net surplus of births (the fertility rate - on average 1.9 children per female - is well above the European average) over deaths, which have in turn fallen sharply.
However, another factor in this increase in the French population is the growth of immigration which, having been declared to be falling in earlier years, was suddenly reassessed in a somewhat surprising fashion.
Alain Parant, reviewing the latest available data, explains how this famous net immigration figure is "calculated" and criticizes the obvious inconsistencies between the various sets of available data, as they can vary by as much as 100% over the period 1990-2003.
Although he does not challenge the fundamentals of the French data collection service, nor indeed the new census methods, he does stress the scale of the gaps in the system for investigating demographic change. He illustrates his argument with four examples: the uncertainty surrounding the increases in healthy life expectancy; the lack of figures on voluntary abortions; the highly regrettable decision to abandon the survey of geographical mobility and social integration (MGIS), even though it was extremely useful in analysing what happened to immigrants and their children who were born in France; lastly, the lack of any satisfactory means of measuring migration flows within the country.
Are these lacunae the result of financial restrictions imposed on the statistical services or are there other, less admissible reasons? The author is concerned, rightly stressing the value of reliable population data and the unfortunate consequences of not knowing what is really going on.
A specialist in land-use planning, Jean-Paul Lacaze examines the figures from the 2004 French population census - carried out in a new way - which were published at the beginning of 2005. He recalls Alfred Sauvy's warnings about the optical illusions that can arise from looking at annual variations rather than absolute numbers, and points out that the regions which are classed as the most attractive in population terms differ depending on the method used to rank them.
When the absolute numbers are considered, the area of France that attracts the largest inflow of population is the Île-de-France (the Paris region), closely followed by Rhône-Alpes, and then much further behind are Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon. But if the ranking is based on the annual rate of change between 1999 and 2003, the order is Languedoc-Roussillon followed by Midi-Pyrénées, Aquitaine and Rhône-Alpes.
As always, how you interpret statistics, when they are available, depends on the spectacles you wear when you look at them.
La société de conseil Forecasting International suit depuis longtemps les grandes tendances du monde contemporain. Son président, Martin Cetron, et Owen Davies, journaliste scientifique, résument dans cet article les changements à l'oeuvre dans les domaines économique, social, démographique et environnemental, en les illustrant de faits qu'ils jugent significatifs, et en en dégageant les implications pour les décideurs. Ainsi, après avoir rappelé les projections de population mondiale du Census Bureau, ils avancent l'idée que celles-ci sous-estiment peut-être la ...
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Les Nations unies viennent de publier des projections de la population mondiale jusqu'en 2300. Celle-ci continuerait de croître pendant cinquante ans avant de se stabiliser... ou bien d'exploser ou d'imploser, selon que la fécondité se maintient au-dessus du niveau de remplacement des générations ou, à l'inverse, reste durablement en dessous. Mais quel sens peut-on accorder à des projections aussi lointaines ? François Héran explique que cet exercice de démographie-fiction reste utile s'il montre à quelles conditions ...
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Every two years the Population Division of the UN updates its demographic data and revises its population projections accordingly. The last revision, in 2002, offered several scenarios for developments between now and 2050, based on different hypotheses about fertility and mortality rates and migration (for the analyses by country and region): a "high", a "low" and a "medium" scenario, and one with fertility held constant.
Julien Damon has examined these revised projections for Futuribles. He sets out the methodological problems associated with this type of exercise, and discusses the main trends in population change for the world as a whole as well as the breakdown by major groups (industrialized countries, developing countries, less advanced nations, etc.) and sometimes also projections for individual countries. He has chosen to focus on the medium scenario in order to make the projections more readily comprehensible; nevertheless, it is important to remember that this scenario is not necessarily the most likely, and the reason for providing a variety of projections is to offer a very wide range of possible outcomes (which can be criticized with regard to the underlying hypotheses), and nobody is able to say for certain which one is the most probable.
According to the medium scenario, the world's population will grow from 6.3 billion today to 8.9 billion in 2050. The developing countries are the main contributors to this increase, despite the negative impact of AIDS on population growth in a number of them. The gap between the standard of living in the developed countries compared with that in the poorer countries is therefore likely to widen. The phenomenon of ageing populations in the industrialized countries, especially in Europe, appears to be unavoidable. All of these trends potentially have serious social consequences.
Dans ce quatre-pages de mars 2004, Gilles Pison fait le point sur l'évolution de la population française, prenant acte des chiffres de l'année 2003 et du triste épisode caniculaire. La France métropolitaine aurait atteint le seuil des 60 millions d'habitants en mai 2004, soit un doublement de la population en 200 ans (elle était de 30 millions en 1804). Après un rappel détaillé des différentes phases de l'évolution démographique, Gilles Pison indique que, l'effet baby ...
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Ce rapport actualise l'étude World Population Beyond Six Billion publiée en 1999. Il présente l'évolution de la population mondiale au cours du XXe siècle (surtout sur les 50 dernières années) et les prévisions pour 2050. Allons-nous assister à une explosion démographique ou à une baisse sans précédent de la natalité ? La réponse est complexe du fait de la nette distinction entre les pays selon la croissance ou le déclin de leur population. Si celle des pays développés a ...
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Ces 50 dernières années, le monde a connu une croissance spectaculaire de sa population urbaine. La vitesse et le rythme de cette croissance, qui s'est surtout concentrée dans les régions les moins développées de la planète, continuent de poser un véritable défi à la communauté internationale dans son ensemble. La gestion des développements liés à cette croissance démographique et la création d'environnements urbains durables restent des questions cruciales à l'ordre du jour de la communauté internationale. Les ...
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Les projections démographiques se fondent en général sur trois variables : la fécondité, la mortalité et les migrations. Or, souvent, explique l'auteur, le choix des taux de ces variables est insuffisamment justifié, c'est le cas notamment en ce qui concerne les projections mondiales réalisées par les Nations unies (ONU). De ce fait, il est difficile d'appréhender la valeur de ces projections pour des usages ultérieurs. Une solution possible pour mieux intégrer l'incertitude serait de coupler les projections ...
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Ce document est la synthèse de quatre rapports et avis sur les perspectives d'évolution de la population active en France, élaborés au sein de la Commission spéciale du plan du CES. Le premier chapitre explique l'intérêt d'une approche par scénarios des perspectives démographiques, tandis que le deuxième observe les tendances passées depuis la Libération en matière de démographie et d'activité, faisant apparaître le basculement survenu au milieu des années 1970 avec la montée du chômage de ...
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Le nombre de ménages d'une personne est en augmentation dans l'ensemble de l'Union européenne. Cette tendance se poursuivra dans les prochaines décennies. Les trois scénarios élaborés par Eurostat sont : - le scénario individualiste, qui prend pour hypothèse le maintien des tendances d'individualisation et de sécularisation ainsi qu'une faible fécondité ; - le scénario familial qui suppose un ralentissement du processus d'individualisation et une fécondité élevée ; - le scénario de référence, qui constitue une moyenne des deux précédents. En ...
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The book describes the major transformations in the world's demographic landscape over the period from 1946 to 2050, in particular the vast imbalance between the countries of the North, especially in Europe, which are underpopulated but rich, and those of the South, often overpopulated and poor.
It examines the main changes observed over the last 50 years and those that are forecast by the United Nations population projections for the period up to 2050. The authors also stress some of the challenges related to demographic change over the long term.