According to trackaah.com, France is in second place for number of residents among the countries of the European Union. The population, who at the beginning of the 18th century. it was about 20 million residents, at the census of 1801 it resulted, within the current borders, of 28,300,000 residents, equal to 16% of the entire European population. Subsequently, after a period of regular growth, such as to register the presence on French soil of 36,500,000 individuals in 1851, the increase was very limited, so much so that in 1954 the number of residents was equal to 42,800,000. Therefore, in the period 1801-1954 the French population had undergone an overall increase of 60%, modest compared to those recorded in the same period of time in the major European countries (Italy 160%,190%, Great Britain 230%). The causes of the low demographic increase are to be found not only in the direct and indirect damages caused by the two world wars, but also in the progressive contraction of the birth rate, which occurred significantly earlier than in the rest of Europe; between 1801 and 1901, in fact, the relative coefficient had dropped from 32 ‰ to 22 ‰, while much more modest decreases had occurred, for example, in Germany (from 37 to 35), in Great Britain (from 33 to 29) and in(from 35 to 28). In the long run, the decrease in the number of births was accompanied by the excessive aging of the population, which on the one hand caused an increase in mortality while on the other led to a serious shortage of manpower which attracted an impressive migratory flow coming mainly from Belgium. from Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.
Starting after the Second World War there was a demographic awakening: the birth rate rose from 16 ‰ in 1944 to 21 ‰ in 1948, then settling on values close to 18 ‰, up to the early 1970s. a new contraction, with a further reduction in the birth rate, which stabilized at around 13 ‰ annual average in the 2000s, and which nevertheless remains among the highest in Europe. An important component of the French population is represented by immigrants, to which must be added a substantial share of the population of foreign origin by now naturalized French. The percentage weight has remained more or less stable since the mid-1970s, as immigrants have increased at the same rate as the total population. Instead, the composition by area of origin has changed: the share of immigrants from European Union countries decreased, especially from Portugal, Italy and Spain, and the percentage of Maghrebis (Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians) increased. Among the other areas of origin, the African countries to the South del Sahara, those of Southeast Asia and Turkey.
The average density is among the lowest in Western Europe, with a distribution that however presents considerable gaps; the most densely populated regions are the Parisian Île-de-France (960 residents /km 2in 2006), followed at a great distance by that of Nord-Pas-de-Calais (323 residents / km 2); much lower is the demographic pressure in Corsica (33 residents / km 2), Limousin (43 residents / km 2) and Auvergne (51 residents / km 2)). Furthermore, consistent internal migratory flows have produced a certain redistribution of the population in favor of the western and southern regions. The ‘magnet’ effect of the Parisian agglomeration, on the other hand, is slowly diminishing, which however does not limit, if not to an extent, Lyon and Lille. The urban network is completed by a series of medium-sized regional metropolises (over 40 urban areas have more than 200,000 residents) which carry out a territorial rebalancing action and represent the fulcrums of regional development based, since the 1960s, on an industrialization by poles.
The official language is French, but there are Breton, Corsican, High German, Basque, Catalan and Flemish minorities. About 76% of the population professes the Catholic religion.