France Population Distribution

France Country and People

According to iamhigher, the distribution of the population is very uneven, in close relation with the different developments of urbanism and industrialization. The density of the Alpine areas of the Pyrenees remains low, but also elsewhere, such as in Auvergne and Limousin, the population is scarce, the result of inert environments from the historical-economic point of view. The highest densities are found in the most industrially dynamic areas: the North, the mid-Rhone valley around Lyon, Alsace, the coastal strip of Normandy and the coastal strip of SE. A separate position occupies the Île-de-France region, where Paris is located, which has a density of 997 residents / km² (2013 estimate), the highest in France, and which alone hosts more than 12 million of ab. (2013 estimate), about one fifth of the entire French population. Then there are the great regional centers: Lyon, Grenoble,, Nice between the Rhone and the Alps; Toulouse and Bordeaux in the Aquitaine Basin; Nantes, Brest, Le Havre on the Atlantic coasts; Lille, Rouen, Nancy, Metz in the North; Strasbourg on the Rhine axis. Other important cities are the departmental centers to which the rural organization belongs: of these only about twenty exceed 100,000 residents and they are the centers of major industrialization. The rest of France has partly preserved its traditional connotations, with villages, hamlets (bourgs) and farms often quite far from each other. The structure of the settlements is varied and is intimately linked to the agricultural landscape; schematically there are two large types, one reflected in the bocage (Central and Western area), with the fields clearly separated by hedges and trees and with scattered farms, on an individualistic basis of the property, the other in the system of open fields, without fences but with geometric parcel divisions according to the community-based crop rotation system, widespread in the N and NE and characterized by large villages along the main roads.

In the Mediterranean area the massed village dominates. The French rural population has not changed much quantitatively over the past centuries, but in recent decades there has been a great exodus from the poorest regions where there were now inadequate property regimes: today just under 15 million people live in the countryside. On the contrary, urban development has been configured according to spontaneous movements, uncontrolled, leading to excesses of concentration in the Paris area (almost a fifth of the population concentrated on 2% of the territory) which, since the nineteenth century, has absorbed most of the population coming from the countryside. For decades, governments have tried to oppose the exaggerated expansion of Paris with targeted interventions in the area of ​​territorial organization. Only since the end of the seventies of the last century have some positive results been seen: for the first time in many centuries the increase in the Paris area was not the most consistent in the country, but on the contrary it was lower than the national average.. The fortune of Paris is explained by the advantageous position of Île-de-France, located at crossroads of the roads coming from the South and the Rhenish region and open to the Atlantic, and with a tradition of state centrality that goes back many centuries. In addition to its role as capital – and as a prestigious city of art and culture – it was prompted by the industrial and commercial developments favored by the navigable network, with which it connected to the mining areas of the North and, across the Seine, to the Atlantic coast. The Paris area constitutes a city-region that planning programs seek to make more open and polycentric, with the creation of secondary centers of reference in its boundless banlieue. The other French cities have historically struggled to keep up with the gigantic metropolitan capital, even if since the 1970s, productive decentralization measures have been adopted with the aim of favoring and enhancing the autonomy of the other large urban centers in the country.

These are in particular Lyon and Marseille, whose urban agglomerations exceeded 2 million and 1,700,000 residents respectively in 2010, followed by the areas of Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux and Nice, around one million residents. Nice, the central point of the Côte d’Azur, is not only a tourist center, but is full of commercial and industrial activities (perfumes). Another city of some importance is Grenoble, a new pole of development of the restructuring plans of the French territory, coordinating center of the Alpine region, famous among other things for the processing of leather. Large Atlantic ports, such as Le Havre, Caen, Brest, Saint-Nazaire, Nantes, represent the outlets of the inland regions. Le Havre, via the Seine and parallel canals, is placed at the service of the Parisian area which also partly uses the ports on the eastern end of the Channel, such as Boulogne-sur-Mer and Dunkerque, which, however, have as a priority function to support the traffic of the North, a highly industrialized region as a whole, whose center is constituted by the aforementioned Lille; Nantes is also the most important commercial and industrial center in the French Northwest. In the Moselle valley, Nancy and Metz developed as industrial centers (especially iron and steel) for the nearby coal and iron deposits of Lorraine; while in populous and industrialized Alsace, Mulhouse also plays an important role. Among the cities inside, poles of mostly agricultural regions, Saint-Étienne, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Bourges, Le Mans stand out for their industrial developments, Orléans, Dijon.

France Country and People