Introduction ::France


France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. It plays an influential global role as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the EU and other multilateral organizations. France rejoined NATO's integrated military command structure in 2009, reversing de Gaulle's 1966 decision to take French forces out of NATO. Since 1958, it has constructed a hybrid presidential-parliamentary governing system resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier, more purely parliamentary administrations. In recent decades, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common currency, the euro, in January 1999. In the early 21st century, five French overseas entities - French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion - became French regions and were made part of France proper.

Geography ::France


metropolitan France: Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain

French Guiana: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname

Guadeloupe: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico

Martinique: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago

Mayotte: Southern Indian Ocean, island in the Mozambique Channel, about half way between northern Madagascar and northern Mozambique

Reunion: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates:

metropolitan France: 46 00 N, 2 00 E

French Guiana: 4 00 N, 53 00 W

Guadeloupe: 16 15 N, 61 35 W

Martinique: 14 40 N, 61 00 W

Mayotte: 12 50 S, 45 10 E

Reunion: 21 06 S, 55 36 E

French Guiana: South America

Guadeloupe: Central America and the Caribbean

Martinique: Central America and the Caribbean

Mayotte: Africa

Reunion: World


total: 643,801 sq km; 551,500 sq km (metropolitan France)

country comparison to the world: 43

land: 640,427 sq km; 549,970 sq km (metropolitan France)

water: 3,374 sq km; 1,530 sq km (metropolitan France)

note: the first numbers include the overseas regions of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion

Area - comparative:

slightly less than the size of Texas

Land boundaries:

metropolitan France - total: 2,889 km

border countries: Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km

French Guiana - total: 1,183 km

border countries: Brazil 673 km, Suriname 510 km


total: 4,853 km

metropolitan France: 3,427 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (does not apply to the Mediterranean)

continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation


metropolitan France: generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean; occasional strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as mistral

French Guiana: tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation

Guadeloupe and Martinique: subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average

Mayotte: tropical; marine; hot, humid, rainy season during northeastern monsoon (November to May); dry season is cooler (May to November)

Reunion: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry (May to November), hot and rainy (November to April)


metropolitan France: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east

French Guiana: low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains

Guadeloupe: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin

Martinique: mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano

Mayotte: generally undulating, with deep ravines and ancient volcanic peaks

Reunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m

highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m

note: in order to assess the possible effects of climate change on the ice and snow cap of Mont Blanc, its surface and peak have been extensively measured in recent years; these new peak measurements have exceeded the traditional height of 4,807 m and have varied between 4,808 m and 4,811 m; the actual rock summit is 4,792 m and is 40 m away from the ice-covered summit

Natural resources:

metropolitan France: coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum, timber, fish

French Guiana: gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum, clay

Land use:

arable land: 33.45%

permanent crops: 1.86%

other: 64.69%

note: French Guiana - arable land 0.13%, permanent crops 0.04%, other 99.83% (90% forest, 10% other); Guadeloupe - arable land 11.70%, permanent crops 2.92%, other 85.38%; Martinique - arable land 9.09%, permanent crops 10.0%, other 80.91%; Reunion - arable land 13.94%, permanent crops 1.59%, other 84.47% (2011)

Irrigated land:

total: 26,420 sq km 26,950 sq km

metropolitan France: 27,230 sq km (2007)

Total renewable water resources:

211 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 31.62 cu km/yr (19%/71%/10%)

per capita: 512.1 cu m/yr (2009)

Natural hazards:

metropolitan France: flooding; avalanches; midwinter windstorms; drought; forest fires in south near the Mediterranean

overseas departments: hurricanes (cyclones); flooding; volcanic activity (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion)

Environment - current issues:

some forest damage from acid rain; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from urban wastes, agricultural runoff

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

largest West European nation

People and Society ::France


noun: Frenchman(men), Frenchwoman(women)

adjective: French

Ethnic groups:

Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities

overseas departments: black, white, mulatto, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian


French (official) 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

overseas departments: French, Creole patois, Mahorian (a Swahili dialect)


Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%

overseas departments: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan


65,951,611 (July 2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

note: the above figure is for metropolitan France and five overseas regions; the metropolitan France population is 62,814,233

Age structure:

0-14 years: 18.7% (male 6,314,779/female 6,029,258)

15-24 years: 11.9% (male 4,017,893/female 3,840,268)

25-54 years: 38.9% (male 12,877,039/female 12,764,229)

55-64 years: 12.6% (male 4,020,974/female 4,287,381)

65 years and over: 17.9% (male 5,029,801/female 6,769,989) (2013 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 56.5 %

youth dependency ratio: 28.5 %

elderly dependency ratio: 27.9 %

potential support ratio: 3.6 (2013)

Median age:

total: 40.6 years

male: 39.1 years

female: 42.1 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.47% (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Birth rate:

12.6 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 158

Death rate:

8.96 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 68

Net migration rate:

1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55


urban population: 85% of total population (2010)

rate of urbanization: 1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

PARIS (capital) 10.41 million; Marseille-Aix-en-Provence 1.457 million; Lyon 1.456 million; Lille 1.028 million; Nice-Cannes 977,000 (2009)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

28.6 (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

8 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

country comparison to the world: 159

Infant mortality rate:

total: 3.34 deaths/1,000 live births

country comparison to the world: 215

male: 3.67 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 81.56 years

country comparison to the world: 15

male: 78.45 years

female: 84.82 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.08 children born/woman (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 117

Contraceptive prevalence rate:


note: percent of women aged 20-49 (2008)

Health expenditures:

11.9% of GDP (2010)

country comparison to the world: 8

Physicians density:

3.5 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density:

6.9 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source:


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population (2010 est.)

Sanitation facility access:


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.4% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

150,000 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

1,700 (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

18.2% (2008)

country comparison to the world: 108

Education expenditures:

5.9% of GDP (2009)

country comparison to the world: 40


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99%

male: 99%

female: 99% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 22.1%

country comparison to the world: 50

male: 21.2%

female: 23.2% (2011)

Government ::France

Country name:

conventional long form: French Republic

conventional short form: France

local long form: Republique francaise

local short form: France

Government type:



name: Paris

geographic coordinates: 48 52 N, 2 20 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

note: applies to metropolitan France only, not to its overseas departments, collectivities, or territories

Administrative divisions:

27 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), Bourgogne (Burgundy), Bretagne (Brittany), Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse (Corsica), Franche-Comte, Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy), Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Martinique, Mayotte, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Reunion, Rhone-Alpes

note: France is divided into 22 metropolitan regions (including the ""territorial collectivity"" of Corse or Corsica) and 5 overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion) and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments (which are the same as the overseas regions)

Dependent areas:

Clipperton Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, New Caledonia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna

note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica; New Caledonia has been considered a ""sui generis"" collectivity of France since 1998, a unique status falling between that of an independent country and a French overseas department


no official date of independence: 486 (Frankish tribes unified under Merovingian kingship); 10 August 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 14 July 1789 (French monarchy overthrown); 22 September 1792 (First French Republic founded); 4 October 1958 (Fifth French Republic established)

National holiday:

Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - although often incorrectly referred to as Bastille Day, the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (on 14 July 1789) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy; other names for the holiday are Fete Nationale (National Holiday) and quatorze juillet (14th of July)


adopted by referendum 28 September 1958; effective 4 October 1958; amended many times

note: amended in 1962 concerning election of president; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, 2003 Treaty of Nice; amended in 1993 to tighten immigration laws; amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term; amended in 2005 to make the EU constitutional treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify EU accession treaties would be made by referendum

Legal system:

civil law; review of administrative but not legislative acts

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012)

head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Marc AYRAULT (since 16 May 2012)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister

(For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 April and 6 May 2012 (next to be held in the spring of 2017); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Francois HOLLANDE elected; first round: percent of vote - Francois HOLLANDE 28.6%, Nicolas SARKOZY 27.2%, Marine LE PEN 17.9%, Jean-Luc MELENCHON 11.1%, Francois BAYROU, 9.1%, others 6.1%; second round: HOLLANDE 51.6%, SARKOZY 48.4%

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (348 seats; 328 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms; one third elected every three years); and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats; 555 for metropolitan France, 15 for overseas departments, 7 for overseas dependencies; members elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 25 September 2011 (next to be held in September 2014); National Assembly - last held on 10 and 17 June 2012 (next to be held in June 2017)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PS/Greens 140, UMP 132, UDF 31, PCF/MRC 21, PRG 17, other 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - PS 48.5%, UMP 33.6%, miscellaneous left wing parties 3.8%, Greens 3.0%, miscellaneous right wing parties 2.6%, NC 2.1%, PRG 2.1%, FDG 1.7%, other 2.6%; seats by party - PS 280, UMP 194, miscellaneous left wing parties 22, Greens 17, miscellaneous right wing parties 15, NC 12, PRG 12, FDG 10, other 15

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (consists of the court president, 6 divisional presiding judges, 120 trial judges, and 70 deputy judges organized into 6 divisions - 3 civil, 1 commercial, 1 labor, and 1 criminal); Constitutional Council (consists of 9 members)

judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the president of the republic from nominations from the High Council of the Judiciary, presided by the Court of Cassation and 15 appointed members; judge term of appointment NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic and 3 each by the National Assembly and Senate presidents; members serve 9-year, non-renewable terms with one third of the membership renewed every 3 years

subordinate courts: appellate courts or Cour d'Appel; regional courts or Tribunal de Grande Instance; first instance courts or Tribunal' d'instance

Political parties and leaders:

Centrist and Republican Union or UCR [Francois ZOCCHETTO] (previously Centrist Union

Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU] (previously Union for French Democracy or UDF)

Europe Ecology - The Greens or EELV [Pascal DURAND]

French Communist Party or PCF [Pierre LAURENT]

Left Front Coalition or FDG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON]

Left Party or PG [Jean-Luc MELENCHON and Martine BILLARD]

Left Radical Party or PRG [Jean-Michel BAYLET] (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG)

Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]

National Front or FN [Marine LE PEN]

New Anticapitalist Party or NPA [collective leadership; main spokesperson Christine POUPIN]

New Center or NC [Herve MORIN]

Radical Party [Jean-Louis BORLOO]

Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]

Republican and Citizen Movement or MRC [Jean-Luc LAURENT]

Socialist Party or PS [Haerlem DESIR]

United Republic or RS [Dominique DE VILLEPIN]

Union for a Popular Movement or UMP [Jean-Francois COPE]

Worker's Struggle (Lutte Ouvriere) or LO [collective leadership; spokespersons Nathalie ARTHAUD and Arlette LAQUILLER]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Confederation francaise democratique du travail or CFDT, left-leaning labor union with approximately 803,000 members

Confederation francaise de l'encadrement - Confederation generale des cadres or CFE-CGC, independent white-collar union with 196,000 members

Confederation francaise des travailleurs chretiens of CFTC, independent labor union founded by Catholic workers that claims 132,000 members

Confederation generale du travail or CGT, historically communist labor union with approximately 700,000 members

Confederation generale du travail - Force ouvriere or FO, independent labor union with an estimated 300,000 members

Mouvement des entreprises de France or MEDEF, employers' union with 750,000 companies as members (claimed)

French Guiana:


gold mining pressure groups

hunting pressure groups


Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG

General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G

General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG

Movement for an Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI

The Socialist Renewal Movement


Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC

Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM

Frantz Fanon Circle

League of Workers and Peasants

Proletarian Action Group or GAP



International organization participation:

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, FZ, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Francois M. DELATTRE

chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000

FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Charles H. RIVKIN

embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08

mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777

telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22

FAX: [33] (1) 42 66 97 83

consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg

Flag description:

three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the ""Le drapeau tricolore"" (French Tricolor), the origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution when the ""ancient French color"" of white was combined with the blue and red colors of the Parisian militia; the official flag for all French dependent areas

note: the design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Netherlands

National symbol(s):

Gallic rooster and Marianne

National anthem:

name: ""La Marseillaise"" (The Song of Marseille)

lyrics/music: Claude-Joseph ROUGET de Lisle

note: adopted 1795, restored 1870; originally known as ""Chant de Guerre pour l'Armee du Rhin"" (War Song for the Army of the Rhine), the National Guard of Marseille made the song famous by singing it while marching into Paris in 1792 during the French Revolutionary Wars

Economy ::France

Economy - overview:

The French economy is diversified across all sectors. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. However, the government maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. With at least 79 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. France's real GDP contracted 2.6% in 2009, but recovered somewhat in 2010 and 2011, before stagnating in 2012. The unemployment rate increased from 7.4% in 2008 to 10.3% in 2012. Youth unemployment shot up to 24.2% during the third quarter of 2012 in metropolitan France. Lower-than-expected growth and high unemployment costs have strained France's public finances. The budget deficit rose sharply from 3.4% of GDP in 2008 to 7.5% of GDP in 2009 before improving to 4.8% of GDP in 2012, while France's public debt rose from 68% of GDP to 90% over the same period. Under President SARKOZY, Paris implemented some austerity measures to bring the budget deficit under the 3% euro-zone ceiling by 2013 and to highlight France's commitment to fiscal discipline at a time of intense financial market scrutiny of euro-zone debt. Socialist Party candidate Francois HOLLANDE won the May 2012 presidential election, after advocating pro-growth economic policies, the separation of banks' traditional deposit taking and lending activities from more speculative businesses, increasing the top corporate and personal tax rates, and hiring an additional 60,000 teachers during his five-year term. The government's attempt to introduce a 75% wealth tax on income over one million euros for two years was struck down by the French Constitutional Council in December 2012 because it applied to individuals rather than households. France ratified the EU fiscal stability treaty in October 2012 and HOLLANDE's government has maintained France's commitment to meeting the budget deficit target of 3% of GDP during 2013 even amid signs that economic growth will be lower than the government's forecast of 0.8%. Despite stagnant growth and fiscal challenges, France's borrowing costs declined during the second half of 2012 to euro-era lows.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$2.291 trillion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

$2.29 trillion (2011 est.)

$2.252 trillion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.609 trillion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

0% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

1.7% (2011 est.)

1.7% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$36,100 (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

$36,300 (2011 est.)

$35,900 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars

Gross national saving:

17.5% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

18.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

17.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 57.7%

government consumption: 24.7%

investment in fixed capital: 19.8%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 27.4%

imports of goods and services: -29.6%

(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 2%

industry: 18.8%

services: 79.2% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:

wheat, cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine grapes; beef, dairy products; fish


machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

-1% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 146

Labor force:

29.78 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 3.8%

industry: 24.3%

services: 71.8% (2005)

Unemployment rate:

10.3% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

9.2% (2011 est.)

Population below poverty line:

7.8% (2010)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3%

highest 10%: 24.8% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

32.7 (2008)

country comparison to the world: 101

32.7 (1995)


revenues: $1.353 trillion

expenditures: $1.48 trillion (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

51.9% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-4.8% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Public debt:

90.2% of GDP (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

85.8% of GDP (2011 est.)

note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.2% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

2.3% (2011 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

1.5% (31 December 2012)

country comparison to the world: 116

1.75% (31 December 2010)

note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

3.44% (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

3.43% (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$938.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

$908.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of broad money:

$2.571 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

$2.499 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$3.627 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

$3.448 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$1.569 trillion (31 December 2011)

country comparison to the world: 8

$1.926 trillion (31 December 2010)

$1.972 trillion (31 December 2009)

Current account balance:

-$58.7 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

-$54.44 billion (2011 est.)


$567.1 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

$593.5 billion (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:

machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages

Exports - partners:

Germany 16.7%, Belgium 7.5%, Italy 7.5%, Spain 6.9%, UK 6.9%, US 5.6%, Netherlands 4.3% (2012)


$641.3 billion (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

$681.6 billion (2011 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals

Imports - partners:

Germany 19.5%, Belgium 11.3%, Italy 7.6%, Netherlands 7.4%, Spain 6.6%, UK 5.1%, China 4.9% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$184.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

$171.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external:

$5.165 trillion (31 December 2012)

country comparison to the world: 5

$5.004 trillion (31 December 2011)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$1.119 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

$1.054 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$1.683 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

$1.619 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates:

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.7778 (2012 est.)

0.7185 (2011 est.)

0.755 (2010 est.)

0.7198 (2009 est.)

0.6827 (2008 est.)

Energy ::France

Electricity - production:

539 billion kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Electricity - consumption:

451.4 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

Electricity - exports:

66.6 billion kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 2

Electricity - imports:

37.1 billion kWh (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

119.1 million kW (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

20.5% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

53% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

17.6% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

5.3% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 35

Crude oil - production:

49,530 bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

Crude oil - imports:

1.428 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

Crude oil - proved reserves:

90.01 million bbl (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Refined petroleum products - production:

1.694 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

1.792 million bbl/day (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Refined petroleum products - exports:

487,200 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Refined petroleum products - imports:

778,400 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Natural gas - production:

587 million cu m (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Natural gas - consumption:

41.52 billion cu m (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Natural gas - exports:

5.378 billion cu m (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Natural gas - imports:

47.04 billion cu m (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Natural gas - proved reserves:

5.522 billion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

395.2 million Mt (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Communications ::France

Telephones - main lines in use:

39.883 million (2011)

country comparison to the world: 7

Telephones - mobile cellular:

59.84 million (2011)

country comparison to the world: 21

Telephone system:

general assessment: highly developed

domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay; extensive use of fiber-optic cable; domestic satellite system

international: country code - 33; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US; satellite earth stations - more than 3 (2 Intelsat (with total of 5 antennas - 2 for Indian Ocean and 3 for Atlantic Ocean), NA Eutelsat, 1 Inmarsat - Atlantic Ocean region); HF radiotelephone communications with more than 20 countries

overseas departments: country codes: French Guiana - 594; Guadeloupe - 590; Martinique - 596; Mayotte - 262; Reunion - 262 (2011)

Broadcast media:

a mix of both publicly operated and privately owned TV stations; state-owned France Televisions operates 4 networks, one of which is a network of regional stations, and has part-interest in several thematic cable/satellite channels and international channels; a large number of privately owned regional and local TV stations; multi-channel satellite and cable services provide a large number of channels; public broadcaster Radio France operates 7 national networks, a series of regional networks, and operates services for overseas territories and foreign audiences; Radio France Internationale (RFI), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a leading international broadcaster; a large number of commercial FM stations, with many of them consolidating into commercial networks (2008)

Internet country code:

metropolitan France - .fr; French Guiana - .gf; Guadeloupe - .gp; Martinique - .mq; Mayotte - .yt; Reunion - .re

Internet hosts:

17.266 million (2012)

country comparison to the world: 7

Internet users:

45.262 million; 44.625 million (metropolitan France) (2009)

country comparison to the world: 8

Transportation ::France


464 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 17

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 294

over 3,047 m: 14

2,438 to 3,047 m: 25

1,524 to 2,437 m: 97

914 to 1,523 m: 83

under 914 m: 75 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 170

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 64

under 914 m:

105 (2013)


1 (2013)


gas 15,322 km; oil 2,939 km; refined products 5,084 km (2013)


total: 29,640 km

country comparison to the world: 9

standard gauge: 29,473 km 1.435-m gauge (15,361 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 167 km 1.000-m gauge (63 km electrified) (2008)


total: 1,028,446 km (metropolitan France; includes 11,416 km of expressways)

country comparison to the world: 7

note: there are another 5,100 km of roadways in overseas departments (2010)


metropolitan France: 8,501 km (1,621 km accessible to craft of 3,000 metric tons) (2010)

country comparison to the world: 16

Merchant marine:

total: 162

country comparison to the world: 36

by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 7, chemical tanker 34, container 27, liquefied gas 12, passenger 10, passenger/cargo 41, petroleum tanker 16, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 11

foreign-owned: 50 (Belgium 7, Bermuda 5, Denmark 11, French Polynesia 11, Germany 1, New Caledonia 3, Singapore 3, Sweden 4, Switzerland 5)

registered in other countries: 151 (Bahamas 15, Belgium 7, Bermuda 1, Canada 1, Cyprus 16, Egypt 1, Hong Kong 4, Indonesia 1, Ireland 2, Italy 2, Luxembourg 15, Malta 8, Marshall Islands 7, Mexico 1, Morocco 3, Netherlands 2, Norway 5, Panama 7, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Singapore 3, South Korea 2, Taiwan 2, UK 39, US 4, unknown 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Brest, Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Marseille, Nantes,

river port(s): Paris, Rouen (Seine); Strasbourg (Rhine); Bordeaux (Garronne)

container port(s): Le Havre (2,215,262)(2011)

cruise/ferry port(s): Calais, Cherbourg, Le Havre

Military ::France

Military branches:

Army (Armee de Terre; includes Marines, Foreign Legion, Army Light Aviation), Navy (Marine Nationale), Air Force (Armee de l'Air (AdlA); includes Air Defense) (2011)

Military service age and obligation:

17-40 years of age for male and female voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; 1-year service obligation; women serve in noncombat posts (2013)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 14,563,662

females age 16-49: 14,238,434 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 12,025,341

females age 16-49: 11,721,827 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 396,050

female: 377,839 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

2.6% of GDP (2005 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Transnational Issues ::France

Disputes - international:

Madagascar claims the French territories of Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana; France asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); France and Vanuatu claim Matthew and Hunter Islands, east of New Caledonia

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 23,225 (Sri Lanka); 12,666 (Cambodia); 12,585 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 11,767 (Russia); 11,506 (Serbia); 10,887 (Turkey); 8,605 (Vietnam); 7,335 (Laos) (2012)

stateless persons: 1,210 (2012)

Illicit drugs:

metropolitan France: transshipment point for South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and European synthetics

French Guiana: small amount of marijuana grown for local consumption; minor transshipment point to Europe

Martinique: transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for the US and Europe"

The World Factbook. 2014.

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