Futuribles Journal n° 215

Population - Société, modes de vie

Jeunes d'origine étrangère en France


Foreign-Born Youth in France
The population of industrialised countries is stagnating and growing older while the population of southern countries continues to grow and is composed primarily of younger people. Furthermore, the North-South gap in development deepens (whether measured in dollars of GDP per capita or by purchasing power parity, PPP). It is therefore understandable that there is a South-to-North migration pressure which will likely modify the volume and especially the age distribution of the European population.
Unfortunately this issue is seldom analyzed: demographic projections are based on assumptions about migration which are absurdly low if not absent, and the process of assimilation (or exclusion) of immigrants is not the object of serious study. Also, the subject is mentioned in the media only when there are incidents which are exploited immediately and shamelessly by ideologues. Hats off, therefore, to an inquiry into "geographic mobility and social insertion" conducted in France in 1992, the principal findings of which are explained here by Michele Tribalat. This inquiry provides for the first time some detailed information on the assimilation of foreign born (Algeria, Spain, Portugal) youth (20-29 years of age) into France. Michele Tribalat is quite aware of all the issues and does not deny that the problems are more acute for youth of Mahgreb origin than for those born in Europe (a consequence of both the home country and host country cultures). She shows nonetheless that differences attenuate significantly within the space of one generation, in spite of an economic and social crisis which is certainly not favourable to integration.

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