The Greater Paris Region demography

The Greater Paris Region, a demographic giant

The Greater Paris Region accommodates a population of 12.1 million, distributed across 8 “départements”; this makes it the most populated region in France and one of the most populated cities in the world. The region covers only 2% of the nation’s surface area, but concentrates 18% of the urban population.
  • It is the 25th most populous city in the world: Behind Tokyo (37.7 million), New York (22.2 million), Shanghai (18.6 million), etc.
  • And the most populous city in Europe, ahead of London (8.5 million).
With 2.2 million inhabitants (19% of the Greater Paris Region’s population), Paris is the most populated commune in France. The population is particularly dense in Paris, where a high number of people live in a relatively small geographic area. The population density in Inner Paris has reached record levels with over 20,000 inhabitants per sq km, raising Paris just above some major world cities in America and Asia. However, beyond Paris in the Inner and Outer Suburbs, the population is far less dense. Finally, the overall population density of the Greater Paris Region stands at a level well below most major European cities, meaning that there is still future development potential for the area.

A population that stands out for its youth, its level of qualification and its percentage of foreigners

Paris and the surrounding region has a particularly young and well qualified population compared to the French average:
  • 20 to 39 year olds account for 34% of the Parisian population and 29% of the population in the Greater Paris Region compared to only 25% nationally.
  • Management level staff account for 28% of the population in Paris and 17% of the population in the Greater Paris Region compared to only 9% nationally.
The percentage of foreigners is also higher in the Greater Paris Region than in other French regions:
  • 15% in Paris and 11% in the Greater Paris Region compared to only 6% nationally.

An ever-growing city, boosted by a significant birth rate

In the Greater Paris Region, as in Greater London, the natural balance is driving demographic change: the number of births is significantly higher than the number of deaths and the natural surplus stands at around 110,000 people per year. This level of activity makes the Greater Paris Region stand out as it accounts for 1 out of every 4 births in France. It also stands out on a European level.

  • With 184,500 births per year, the Greater Paris Region has more births than the Netherlands (with a population of over 16 million) and half of the number recorded in Poland (with a population of over 38 million).
However, with departures higher than arrivals, the Greater Paris Region’s migratory flow has been negative for the last 30 years – even including new arrivals from abroad. As in all mature Western cities, the number of departures from the Greater Paris Region to the rest of France is in fact much higher than the number of arrivals from the rest of France. The Greater Paris Region may be attractive for students and young workers because of its universities and economic activity, but there are significant departure points at two key life stages: as the family grows and the desire to have a larger home takes hold, and upon retirement.
And by 2030? According to INSEE forecasts, by 2030 the Greater Paris Region will have a population of 12.4 million and will be the only French region to have more under 20-year-olds than those over 60. Ageing will have a much lesser effect than elsewhere due to the unique demographic profile with a migratory excess of youth combined with a deficit of older people.