Friday, January 19, 2007

830 000 new French souls last year...

The news came a couple of days ago: France is the country in Europe where, last year, women have had the most babies (2 babies per woman). This is the highest figure in 25 years! There are several possible reasons for this "productivity". For instance, the more children you have, the less income tax you pay. You also receive 119 €/month if you have 2 children and 272€/month if you have 3. The French maternity leave is also pretty generous: 16 weeks for the 1st and 2nd child and 26 weeks for the 3rd (during which you're paid full salary, of course). And last but not least, the daycare system is pretty good - not good enough, especially in big cities like Paris, but OK. Because even though they have babies, 80% of French women work...

PS: Thanks a million for all your votes. This is the last call: in case you haven't voted for PDP in the Festival de Romans yet, please do so by Saturday, by clicking here. Merci beaucoup!


  1. WOW ERIC!

    How much for FOUR! LOL! Couldn't resist...and ahhhhhhhhhh..we ALL's the tougest job you'll ever LOVE! ;)

    Nice shot!

  2. Wow. They PAY you to have kids. No wonder that that france is still producing kidlets while the rest of Europe is dying off.

    We have per child tax credit here too which is pretty good, but we don't get paid per month for each child. That would be nice. =)

  3. For the sake of the species, I guess it's good somebody is procreating. You go girls: couldn't pay me enough.

  4. More than we get in the UK too. This is such a good angle. Who is posing for you Eric?

  5. You seem amazingly well informed on the maternity situation and youre bang up to date. Got a secret to share with us Eric?

  6. Great info. and picture on parenting on parenting in France. How is the job market for a French citizen considering to relocate to france with his own family. Maybe you or anyone else can shed a light on this issue.

  7. Universal health care or socialized medicine is usually denigrated in the US for being inefficient, but 16 to 26 weeks paid maternity leave must be doing something. The infant mortality rate for France is 4.21 deaths/1,000 live births, while in the US it is 6.43/1,000 live births (facts courtesy the online CIA World Factbook) - an astonishing number considering the amount of money spent for healthcare in the US. More investment needs to be made in prenatal care in teh US before we can even think about 4 months of paid maternity leave

    But how about paternity leave, Eric? Your photo has a father doing the "heavy lifting"...

  8. So if the average is two babies per woman per year and some women don't have any, pity the ones that do!

  9. Vicky: good point--THAT is heavy lifting. The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is shameful for any first world nation. Do we see any improvement on the horizon? Don't hold your breath. I read something today: the Texas state legislature passed a law that said legislators must report that they received a donation, but are not required to say how much money was donated. This is where W comes from.

    Life is a carnival. Sometimes you get clowns, sometimes the freak show. Where's the cupie doll?

  10. Wait just a minute... Did you say 2 babies per woman ... in one year?! Hmm... That's a bit ... ahem... "productive" for my taste, even if they do pay you. :-) I hope these women take a break eventually ;)

    Your post today reminded of a great favorite little book of mine by Christiane Rochefort called Les Enfants du Siecle, that was supposed to illustrate the concept of government-sponsored births in the 50's in France, among other things... Personally, I think it's a must read for people who grow up in France because it documents the way things were at a certain time. (Probably hard to read for an English speaker, though, because she does use a fair amount of slang. For a French speaker, the book only takes a couple of hours to read).

  11. Oh, I almost forgot, love the Marine hat! I have a sweater just like this :)

  12. These are encouraging stats, Eric. Hey, he looks familiar? A relative of yours perhaps?
    BTW- at the 10 PM radio news report there was a bulletin about horrible winds of 100 mph in Paris. I'm wishing you and all in the affected areas well through this situation. Keep us posted.

  13. Does this only apply to Frenchwomen, or to "immigrants" as well? If it applies to "immigrnts", may God save France!

  14. Adam Gopnik, who often writes in The New Yorker, has a book ("Paris to the Moon") about 5 years spent in Paris, together with his family (1995-2000, if I'm not wrong). His son was born in New York before the move, and his daughter is born in Paris during the stay.
    So he writes an interesting chapter ("Like a King", pages 296-311) comparing the two systems. The book is available with Search Inside on, so you can take a look for free.

  15. the paternity leave is 2 weeks in France (it's quite new !).
    About daycare system and maternity leave, of course it is better than in many other countries but still... ask Scandinavian people and you will be jealous ! Daycare system is really hard to find, not only in Paris, it's a real headache.

  16. Unless it's a multiple birth, two babies in one year is a physical impossibility.

  17. Oh wait! I remember having a friend in college who said he was an "Irish twin." When I asked him what that meant, he said that he and his brother were 9 months apart.

    So I guess, theoretically if you gave birth in January and immediately got pregnant again you could conceivably (no pun intended!) have another child in September or October. Yikes!

    Okay all, wish me luck. I'm having surgery today (Friday).

  18. I've had 3 children, two are 16 months apart and the youngest was 3 years later. There was not much financial help at all really, minimal child benefit and because my husband at the time was a high earner, nothing more. Does family income affect these benefits?

  19. Perhaps this IS you Eric? We haven't seen a profile pic, so it's hard to tell. Why haven't you told us about the new addition in that case - maybe you should call a press conference, the Hon. Lord Eric Tenin, PDP...? ;)

  20. > Jovan-Marya W : funny I'm not surprised by your comment… Yes it does apply to all the births in France. Studies also show "immigrants" tend to join the nationals' average "productivity". And considering the percentage of this population in France, you may consider figures in that matter are at a margin. I hope this may reassure you for the future of France…

  21. Eric, this info is very intersting about the effects of a willing policy, I think, especially if we consider having babies goes with a certain being confident into the future whereas studies show the French are considered the most pessimistic people throughout Europe for quite a long time now.

  22. Pourquoi tu veux tellement qu'on vote pour ton festival machin chose ? Pour faire plus de pub et de fric pour ton site ?

  23. M. Sylvani.

    Certaines personnes comprennent l'excellence et la poursuite d'elle.

    Certains poursuivent la médiocrité et ruissellent de la bouche au clavier.

    Les politiciens ne posent jamais une question sans connaissance de la réponse.

  24. > Sylvain / m.Benaut : absolument MDR ! Merci. c'est bon rigoler un peu !

  25. Hi from Madrid, Eric and everybody...
    That's a good new for french people! That means a lot of little frenchs in the world now... hehe. In Spain is pretty different. It's hard for us to have babies, there are no good helps like yours. Nowadays msotly of the babies borns here are from inmigrant people.. That means Spain population will be different in few years.. We'll see :)

  26. Interesting information, though at the beginning i didn't see the relationship between the photo and the text... and i understood the picture only after... (hoops, i saw a ball of rubby instead of a head... ;P should change my glasses soon :)

  27. They certainly do make it quite enticing to have children in France. What great benefits for a lifetime responsibility.

  28. I certainly hoe i's not every French woman having 2 babies in one year! That's not entirely healthy for the mother or the new baby because the mother's body wouldn't have had time to fully heal before conceiving again. It's also not ood for the first baby because Mommy's body is taking a toll, thus making an already sleep deprived woman even more so, and if older baby is breast-feeding then (s)he isn't getting the proper nutrients because Mommy's body is taking them for the unborn baby!

    I wish we had that kind of government system in the US. Maybe then I could convince hubby that we should have another baby!

  29. hoe=hope


    Sorry, keyboard is being stupid.

  30. Um, I don't think anyone said women are having two babies per year. I believe Eric's stats say that as of last year's data, women have on average two babies each. That's not two babies per year. Statistical statements must be read carefully. Like dsole's comment: it's hard to have babies. Well, no it's not... Language it tricky! Like Humpty Dumpty in Alice In Wonderland: words mean whatever I want them to mean.

    And, I don't think it's Eric holding the child. I think Eric IS the child! Archival PDP!

  31. ...and, baby, it's cold outside! What weather you are having in Europe! Please stay safe and warm, everyone.

  32. Child allowance applies to all legally residing in France, whether or not they have received their citizenship. Though I doubt that is what Jovan-Marya Weismiller (whose ancestors were obviously "immigrants") means. I'm very disappointed that anyone would write such racist comments on a series of blogs where people from so many cultures and "races" share beautiful photos and comments about their cities and countries.

    My background is in migration history and indeed, after a generation or two, people of immigrant origin attain the same birthrate as people whose ancestors have lived in the country for longer. I have a friend of Algerian origin in Paris (he is a French citizen, and no, he is not a Muslim fundamentalist) who was complaining about West Africans (more recent immigrants) who have too many children! We laughed at him, and eventually he laughed too.

    En passant, vive la république!

  33. In Norway, when my significantly younger cousin was born, my uncle had a month off for paternity leave while my aunt took nearly 8 months off. I think the standard is 6 months of full salary, or opt for longer with a reduced salary.

    The 3 months in the US, assuming you have enough stored up vacation and sick time, just doesn't seem like enough time.

  34. lol! I know Eric dd not mean (or state) 2 babies/year. That's an impossible average for anywhere!

  35. Kind of ironic that Montreal called Jovan a racist for saying that recent immigrants have more children than the prevailing French and then went on to say,"I have a friend of Algerian origin in Paris (he is a French citizen, and no, he is not a Muslim fundamentalist) who was complaining about West Africans (more recent immigrants) who have too many children!"

    I say "shame on you" Montreal for name-calling when he is obviously (according to your immigrant friend in France)just stating a fact.

    I wonder why some people here always want to criticize others.

  36. Vive la France!

    Pour la patrie et la famille !

    (Pour le travail, 35 c encore trop ;-p)

  37. Here in the US women work and have babies and don't have good day care or good tax incentives which is too bad but on the other hand, the low population rate isn't necessarily a bad thing in terms of environmentalism. One thing I think we should do differently in the US is give men maternity leave when their wives have babies. After all, babies are born to familes and the whole family has to adjust.

  38. to close some stupid statements, I'm French from Normandy and I have 3 children.

  39. Racism sucks.
    2 per woman is a lifetime average.
    Bravo France for the type of family support which all rich countries should be able to provide.
    >>Adam Gopnik, who often writes in The New Yorker, has a book ("Paris to the Moon") - one of my favourite books ever - well recommended.

  40. I felt compelled to comment today. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones; here in Québec, we are allowed 52 weeks maternity leave (or paternity leave). Parents can even share the leave, provided the mothers leave added to the fathers does not exceed 52 weeks. I received 93 per cent of my salary (in part by the government, in part by my employer) for the 52 consecutive weeks I stayed at home with my newborn child.

    We also receive government incentives, which increase with every child you add to the family, and my daycare is excellent and costs me a ridiculous 7CAN$ a day (because my provincial government largely subsidizes daycare).

    En terminant, Eric, à défaut d'y être, j'adore ce clin d'oeil quotidien que me fait Paris par l'entremise de vos excellentes photos et rubriques.

  41. > Ame, well for each additional kid you get 153 €. And yes you're right raising children is a real work, I should have said: 80% of women have two jobs: raising their kids - with their husband - and a daytime job...

    > Nathalie. Actually I don't think money is all what boosts the fertility rate. Other countries in Europe have similar grants and they don't all have that birthrate. Let's say it just helps.

    > Jeff. LOL. And what if men were to give birth. Would you say the same thing?!

    > Lynn. His name is Jean-Jacques, he is also a journalist and he is a friend of mine. I came across him and his wife walking their children by sheer coincidence. And no, I have no secret to share, I just did my reporter's job!!

    > Clo. Well the French job market is fine if you're between 34 and 36, white, male, if you have a top degree, a lot of experience and don't ask for too much money you should have no problem! I'm exaggerating of course, but let's say it's not easy to get a job here.

    > Erik. Yes, you're right, my male chauvinism made me talk only about maternity leave but fathers can also have a paternity leave too: between 11 to 18 days. About the money spent on health care, well it's a real political choice. In France, it works pretty well: the life expectancy is one of the highest in the world, the infant mortality rate is, like you said, very low and we don't have to worry in case of an accident or a serious disease. Of course all this security has an enormous price: we spend over 330 billion € on social security, one seventh of the GDP which is a lot. And the problem is that we don't make enough money to afford that. So we've been in the red for the past 25 years or so...

    > Vicky. So you're the one who started the 2 babies per woman per year thing!!! I never said taht!! It's two babies per woman per lifetime...

    > Jeff "Life is a carnival. Sometimes you get clowns, sometimes the freak show. Where's the cupie doll? " LOL

    > Tomate. Les Enfants du Siècle ? never heard of this book... I know "les confessions d'un enfant du siècle", but that's different!

    > Kim. Well, no he's not a relative. The wind?! Yes pretty strong but not too bad. Driving a sccoter with that kind of wind is not easy though... Thanks for your concern.

    > Jovan-Marya. It applies to everybody. Recent immigrants account for 12% according to the stats. France will be "saved" by all children, regardless of their origins. In fact it's a secular State so everyone has to follow the same laws; for example Muslims have to put up with strict rules on the Islamic scarf and sex mixity, Catholics must put up with contraception, abortion, gay unions... Jews cannot complain that shops open on Saturdays, etc. No religion is superior to another one.

    > Buzzgirl. Irish twins? I did not know the expression but I like it. How did your surgery go (I'm a little late...)?

    > Lynn. No, this is one of the rare money that you get regardless of your income. 3 children you have?! Wow! If it were me I would have called a press conference, believe me!!

    > GG. LOL... About your second comment: well, that's why I don't think that the money really plays such an important role. French people want to have babies because they want to have a family period. Of course if on top of that you have daycare, grants... it's better.

    > Sylvain. Oui, les deux. Mais bon pour le fric je ne me fais pas trop d'illusions... C'est bon il y a 500 votes maintenant.

    > M. Benaut. Well said!

    > GG. C'est bon hein.

    > Dsole. You don't get any help at all in Spain for having babies?

    > Michelle. LOL. I must say I hesitated before posting this photo and then I thought it was pretty original. Plus the law is strict on showing children, so...

    > Terri. Well actually compared to what it really costs to have children, these grants are really nothing, but who counts when it comes to children?!

    > Soosha. Like I already said it's not 2 babies per woman per year but 2 babies per woman per lifetime!! How many children do you have already? Why doesn't your husband want another one???

    > Jeff. LOL I wish I was small enough to be walked around in Paris on a belly bag!

    > Lagatta. Hey, long time no see... Isn't "funny" that old immigrants always think they're better that newer immigrants?

    > Norwegian anonymous. OK, you win! But you're cheating you have oil up there so you can afford a 6 month maternity leave!!! BTW what is the average number of children per woman in Norway?

    > Ming. LOL

    > Susan. Er, I am not sure I am following you. I think Lagatta was saying that people that were once criticized for having more children that "usual" raise the exact same criticism about newer immigrants once they integrate their new country. The real question to start with is "is it bad to have more children than the average"?

    > TV Mog. True 35 heures is still too much, LOL.

    > Michelle. What is the birthrate per woman in the States? I am curious to know.

    > Un Normand. Did the fact that you get money from the Government made any difference in your decision to have children?

    > Sally. Racism sucks so much, it's totally unacceptable! Somebody recommended the book you mentioned already. I did not know it.

    > Michèle. What 52 weeks?! So Anonymous from Norway, what do you say now ??? It's totally amazing. Is everybody entitled the same or is it only people who work in specific areas? One question though. You say, you received 93% of your salary during these 52 weeks and that part of it was payed by your company. Here precisely, companies are very reluctant to hire young women because they are afraid they'll get pregnant and they will have to pay an empty chair while they're gone. Isn't there the same feeling in Canada - especially if it lasts for 52 weeks??? Et merci beaucoup pour votre gentil commentaire - en français! Je suis heureux de pouvoir vous faire partager un petit morceau de Paris quotidiennement.

  42. Eric, maybe you misread Montreal...he/she called the other person a racist "surprised to see such racist comments..." and I was defending them. I see no need for that or someone making assumptions about another person's intentions....too much of that going on here.

  43. 52 weeks, I'm not kidding, it is amazing. Most workers in Québec are entitled to 52 weeks of leave and government maternity/paternity benefits, except those who are self-employed (for more info : You're right, I did say part of my salary was paid by my "employer". As I work in a unionized branch of the public sector, i.e. for one of our two governments – the actual policy makers – that makes me and my tens of thousands of fellow public servants quite lucky… I don't think many people get this kind of peace of mind. Ah! Ces fonctionnaires! Vous avouerez que ces conditions ne font pas en sorte d'améliorer notre reputation!

    As for women working in the private sector, I'd say the feeling is the same here as it is everywhere. You may be entitled to 52 weeks of government benefits, very few companies will top up those benefits. Most of my friends took no more than 12 to 16 weeks of maternity leave out of fear of losing their jobs.

  44. lol yes three, Eric. One lives with me, two with their father. All teenagers and wonderful; i'm very lucky!

  45. actually no; one with me, one with father, one at university - recent changes !!

  46. great news for a mother nation as captured on the hands of a father :-)

  47. Count me in for this year, wonder what the numbers will be like for 2007.

  48. Not that it matters, but I happen to know Jovan 'Mayra' quite well by relation (I'm one of his FIVE Children; guess which one, dad) and he is NOT French. Although he claims a small, tiny percentage of French ancestry, he is mostly German, English, and Swedish (as am I, with some Irish and Czech from my mother). For him to criticize immigrants in France and imply that they are a danger to that beautiful place (he no doubt is worried about the large Muslim influx I’ve heard about) is both sad and absurd, seeing as if he had his way our family would have immigrated to France ourselves and he has a large number of children as well. Not to mention that immigrants who become citizens are ‘Frenchwomen’ too, I would think.

  49. Hello. Alone on Valentine's Day? [url=] Adult live chat[/url] & [url=]Movie Pages[/url] Try to find partner in your area!

  50. Really great blog very informative re vodafone nz. In a simliar vain to vodafone nz, I would definitely recommend for **mobile phones** or **cheap broadband**. Also you can get **cheap gas & electricity**, **gifts for your loved one** and **loan deals, free phone calls with talktalk, free broadband with Sky and bargain electrical equipment**